Founder/farmers full name(s): Myraho Trading Company
Rugali Coffee Washing Station
Регіон: Nyamasheke is a district in Western Province
Станція митої обробки: Rugali Washing Station
Altitude of picking area:
1600 – 1800 masl
Early March to end May
Arabica Red bourbon
Average rainfall per year:
1400 – 1500 mm
19 to 28
Tell us about your family: where do they come from? (background/heritage)
Our family is a very multicultural family and does not share the “usual” family story. Our ethnicity is Indian (Our parents are from South India / Tamil Nadu) but we grew up in Uganda (Karthick was born in Kampala) and then moved to Rwanda in 1996.
In 2002, our parents moved us to New Zealand (we lived away from our parents from the age of 11 and 12) to get better education and exposure in a new environment. Rwanda back then was not the same as it is today – today our kids are going to the same school we did in Rwanda where the standard has improved to international standards. This is a small example that showcases how far Rwanda has come to get to a leading example in Africa!
Post university Karthick returned to settle in Rwanda with his family (he worked in Burundi, Kenya and Uganda first before moving to Rwanda) and Gaudam got work experience in UK and New Zealand before being based in Wellington (New Zealand) with his family.
What is/was their roll within the coffee market? (talk about parents/grandparents)
Our Father worked in coffee for over 20 years. He was fundamental in establishing the operations for a Swiss based coffee company across East Africa (Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda).
What is your earliest memory with coffee? Or, how did your family introduce you to coffee?
Earliest memory of coffee is climbing coffee sacks in the warehouse after school when we would wait for our father to finish work to take us home.
Tell us about your educational background? (either study or learning the trade upon the fields)
We both did our high schooling in a small town in New Zealand called Whanganui then went to study at the Otago University in Dunedin, both graduating with Commerce Degrees.
What is the story behind your mill/farm – why did you start working in coffee and how?
We grew up in Rwanda and realized the great potential its coffee has to offer internationally. This country has shaped our childhood in so many ways and we wanted to give something back and showcase Rwanda beyond the tragic history this country suffered.
Name family members or close friends that are involved within your mill/farm, and explain what their rolls are within daily operations?
Karthick Anbalagan is the company’s Managing Director who oversees all company activities. Gaudam Anbalagan is Marketing Director who is not only responsible for the marketing but also Quality Control. We are supported by our great team that is headed by Eustache Mutakirwa (Operations Manager), Amis Mbarushimana (Finance Manager), Mussa Habimana (Lab Manager) and Uwimana
Rosine (Export & Logistics Officer). Rugali is run by Balthazar Ndikubwimana who is the CWS Manager. We are also focused on helping farmers to improve quality and production of their trees with better agricultural practices, inputs and coffee extension programs which is managed by Tuyisabe Elyse (Agronomist) under the supervision of Julia Anbalagan (Sustainability Manager).
How did your mill/farm develop through the years (name small and big developments, like; a new drying bed)? Mention a minimum of three developments.
Our dry mill and purpose-built warehouse was completed in Rugali in 2019. New drying beds built from 98 to start with in 2016 to present 163 beds. Upgraded and expanded our intake area and added a new Penagos UDC 7.500 Bourbon Sorting and Pulping Unit (A first in Rwanda). Built new Manager and permanent staff house.
Name current challenges that your mill/farm faces (within agriculture, infrastructure, social, legal)?
Challenges we face are the ongoing sky rocketing production costs locally due to inflation, climate change issue as we are finding weather patterns changing constantly to the usual norm. decrease in production.
What is special about this mill/farm and sets it apart from others (either a story about you, your family, or mill/farm)?
Coffees from this station have been used in multiple national and international barista competitions. Rugali along with little sister Kilimbi were the first stations in Rwanda history to egally produce and export Natural and Honey processed coffee. This has now paved the way for other coffee producers in Rwanda!
Tell us how you make your mill/farm sustainable (social and environmental initiatives. For instance, you make your own compost)?
Organic compost is made of pulps mixed with organic solution and used in coffee farms.
What is your hope for the future, or vision for your farm/mill and family?
We hope to continue to make a direct impact to our communities through the production of specialty coffee. We want to keep pushing to showcase to the world Rugali’s and Rwanda’s potential in coffee. We aim to continue to be the benchmark and leaders in Rwanda for Natural and Honey processing.
What must coffee roasters know about your coffee, mill/farm, or about you and your family (fun, unique facts)?
Rugali has gone from being a small station that produced only 1 container to becoming one of the most impactful and well- respected stations in the Nyamasheke region. The job opportunities it has created in the region and ongoing social impact it has is extremely well respected by the local district and communities.