When we headed into 2021, CQI was hoping -like everyone else- that we would be returning to normalcy and that COVID-19 would be under control. That was not the case, but with the help of technology and local partners we did manage to provide CQI education in countries around the world. In fact, a “Day in the Life of a Roaster” class is taking place right now in the Philippines. Here are some highlights of work we did in 2021:
- Returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to offer the Q Processing Level 2 course, in partnership with TechnoServe on the USAID/DRC Strengthening the Coffee Value Chain (SVC) project. This year, TechnoServe added 8-10 new partners and over twenty washing stations to their program and used this course so that the washing stations joining the project were exposed to quality standards at the onset of the season, along with correct use of technologies and equipment that help refine the art of processing.
- The USAID Feed the Future Value Chain Activity project in Ethiopia (2019-2021) was completed with two final activities in July and August. At the conclusion CQI had delivered Junior Cupper training to eight groups, three Q Grader course and retakes courses and worked to develop four coffee labs.
- In the Philippines, as part of the PhilCAFE program and in cooperation with ACDI/VOCA, CQI is running calibrations utilizing Filipino instructors. We also supported the 5th annual Philippine Coffee Quality Competition by reviewing and endorsing competition rules and structure and recruiting an international panel of (virtual) judges based in Asia. CQI staff worked with PhilCAFE to create scripts for short training videos. These videos will be used to train Robusta producers as part of the project’s COVID-adapted approach, with stakeholders able to watch the videos on a mobile device and ask the project’s field agents questions.
- International Trade Centre (ITC) and CQI have been cooperating over the last year to offer our on-line Processing Essentials classes to various ITC project stakeholders.
- The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) engaged CQI to complete a lab diagnostic activity in Peru, as part of the Global Quality and Standards Program (GQSP). GQSP addresses the challenges of quality and standards compliance capacity in partner countries to facilitate market access for small and medium enterprises working on flagship value chains in more than ten countries. In this activity, CQI addressed ‘information asymmetries’ in Peruvian coffee laboratories through the evaluation of six Peruvian labs, looking at their infrastructure and equipment, staff training and coffee knowledge, as well as several Peruvian national standards. A final action plan for these labs will be presented by the end of the year.
- As part of the USAID/MOCCA activity in Peru, implemented by TechnoServe and supported by Olam Peru, CQI conducted a diagnostic visit to nine farms, to understand the social-cultural context and their production norms. CQI then delivered our Good Practices training to ten Olam technicians involved in this project. This training was structured so that the Olam technicians studied under CQI for three days before teaching our Good Practices Workshop to area producers.
- In April CQI signed the subaward for a three-year EU-funded program: Rwanda Ikawa Nziza Cyana (Rwanda INC.) CQI is the co-applicant, alongside TechnoServe. The Rwanda INC project aims to create shared value for farmers, businesses, lenders, and regulators by introducing digital mobile technologies, input distribution schemes and quality standards and policies. This project is occurring in the Nyamasheke District and targets sixty of the district's 300 washing stations. This year we were able to deliver two Q Processing Level 1 courses, attended by students from the Eav Ntendezi, a technical secondary school, and one Q Processing Level 2 course, where fifteen students attended representing ten coffee washing stations. We also contributed to creating Minimum Quality and Sustainability Standards for Coffee Washing Stations, a formal document that will eventually be adopted by Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Board.
- Working with Winrock International, the inaugural Laos People’s Democratic Republic (virtual) Green Coffee Competition concluded successfully in August, after eight months of planning and preparation. The purpose of this contest was to build the capacity of the Laos coffee sector and to cooperate on an event that not only benefits the winning individuals, but also raises the profile and reputation of Laos specialty coffee overall. CQI will support this competition again in 2022.
CQI is grateful to have a global network of team members and partners who have kept us actively serving our mission. Thanks to everyone who helped, and here’s to an even more productive 2022.