AGLC (Rwanda & Burundi)

Landscape in Rwanda with drying coffee in the foreground
View of The Thousand Hills, Rwanda, 2016 (Photo: Ruth Ann Church)

Africa Great Lakes Region Coffee Support Program

Coffee is the main source of cash income for about one million smallholder farmer households in the Africa Great Lakes region. However coffee plants are threatened by an increasingly prevalent antestia bug infestation that results in potato taste defect (PTD), and the coffee yields are also among the world’s very lowest. The goal of the program is to dramatically reduce the effects of antestia/PTD and raise farm-level productivity. These changes will improve smallholder farmer incomes and help to sustain the Africa Great Lakes region’s reputation for producing among the highest quality coffees in the world.

AGLC addresses these challenges through an integrated program of applied research, farmer capacity building and policy engagement.

AGLC works around three axes:

  • Applied policy, household, and agronomic (field-level) research
  • Capacity building/farmer training & outreach; and
  • Policy engagement.

The proposed solution requires a public-private sector coordinated response across the entire value chain, including producers, washing stations, dry mills, exporters and the government agencies that support the sector’s growth.

Local Partners:
University of Rwanda, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR), Rwanda,
Polytechnic University of Gitega
University of Ngozi

Partner based in Washington, D.C.:
Global Knowledge Initiative

Lead capacity building and policy partners include CEPAR, Starbucks and NAEB in Rwanda, and InterCafé, Greenco, and ARFIC in Burundi.

Status: Associate Award
Funding dates: 2015-2018

Components: C1-C2
Themes: Climate Change and Gender

Project Leader:
Daniel Clay, Professor and and Director, Global Programs in Sustainable Agri-food Systems, Department of Community Sustainability, MSU.

AGLC Program Brochure

AGLC (Rwanda & Burundi)


  • Ruth Ann Church 12/11/2017

    Red Cherries and Farmers Who Do it Right

    With coffee price increases, some farmers might be tempted to pick under-ripe fruits to deliver more fruits. This behavior prejudices farmers who bring only the perfect pick. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy, the Africa Great Lakes Coffee Support Program (AGLC) offered support to the National Agricultural Export and Development Board (NAEB) in the form of data and research to help change policies and prevent this kind of “cheating,” at the expense of farmers who do it right.

  • AGLC team 12/08/2017

    Coffee Means Cash

    Coffee plays a central role for 355,000 rural households in Rwanda, and the cherry price can mean the difference between an unbreakable cycle of rural poverty and a country with thriving communities across all of its districts, not just the urban areas. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy’s Africa Great Lakes Coffee Support Program (AGLC) provided NAEB with findings that established the cost of production of coffee to farmers. These results served as a basis for a substantial adjustment in the national coffee floor price.

  • David Ortega 10/12/2017

    AGLC scientists engage with FAO

    What makes coffee so uniquely important for Rwanda’s agricultural growth? The AGLC Team has identified 8 fundamental arguments to support investing in the coffee sector.