Linking Smallholder Coffee Quality to Price Premiums

Client: KZ Noir, Acumen
Location: Rwanda
Sector: Agriculture
IDinsight services: Light-touch M&E advisory services, M&E capacity building

The Problem

IDinsight worked with the Acumen Fund as a part of the “Lean Data Initiative,” a new program to test different technology assisted ways of collecting data for social enterprises. KZ Noir, an Acumen Fund portfolio company, is a Rwanda-based coffee processing and exporting business aiming to raise the incomes of its supplier farmers.

Evidence Needs

KZ Noir was introducing a premium sharing program for its supplier farmers in Rwanda. This program would assemble 1,300 coffee farmers into groups of 40-50 farmers each to be trained in harvesting premium-grade coffee cherries. KZ Noir planned to track the quality of the coffee cherries delivered by each farmer group and share with them a portion of the premium gained from selling higher-quality coffee on the export market. KZ Noir hoped to not only benefit its supplier farmers by raising their incomes, but also to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of the premium sharing model to promote adoption throughout the market. To our knowledge, this is the only program in Rwanda seeking to directly track the quality of specific smallholder farmer groups’ coffee yields for the purpose of sharing price premiums.

IDinsight Service

We supported KZ Noir in setting up a farmer registration survey for thousands of its supplier farmers. As part of this engagement, we trained KZ Noir’s staff to conduct mobile phone-based surveys and implement survey management best practices. We also built tools to help KZ Noir rapidly and effectively track data quality. This process has allowed KZ Noir’s staff to take ownership over the entire process of data collection, management, and cleaning. We are also helping KZ Noir set up a potential evaluation of the premium sharing program.