CQI began work in Burundi in 2009, collaborating with USAID’s East African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion (COMPETE) program to expand the Q Coffee System, collaborate and support the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) and develop competitive strategies for Fine Robusta coffee. The shared goal among these organizations is to provide all East African coffee producing countries the opportunity to maximize their effectiveness in the marketplace and award premiums to the entire coffee value chain.

From 2008 to 2012, as part of this program, CQI provided training and technical assistance in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. A regional emphasis brought together 13 highly qualified people from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda for East Africa’s first Q Grader Train-the-Trainer course. All of the students successfully completed the course and are now Assistant Q Instructors. Ted Lingle, CQI’s former executive director and the Q Instructor, remarked, “These individuals are the ‘cream of the crop’ cuppers, and possess both the cupping and teaching skills to become excellent cupping instructors.”

Out of the estimated 35,000 MT of coffee, specialty is currently estimated at 2% but this could rise to 50% over time if these programs continue to be implemented. In fact, Burundi will benefit quickly because of the current washing station infrastructure and quality production environment. Shipping and transport are major issues in landlocked Burundi, so trainings for exporters on transport management and logistics, including setting realistic timelines for delivery, are needed to manage expectations and constraints. CQI had some interaction with the DAI project in Burundi in 2010 and 2011, but that project is now finished.There is currently one assistant instructor and ? Q graders in Burundi

Building on the work with COMPETE, CQI has worked with the INTERCAFE (the local coffee industry association) and ARFIC (the local government coffee regulatory agency). The latter was supported in a project funded by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), for which CQI did a lab evaluation and a quality coffee seminar for stakeholders in 2016.  A comprehensive plan was written for the sector in 2014 for the World bank, but due to internal politics, it was put on hold until 2017, when it will be re-launched. CQI will partner UNIDO to support ARFIC in the context of the World Bank project.