The Coffee Widows

KIM COOK

NEW LIFE: A coffee picker with her baby. She has learned how to choose for quality

Rwanda is best known for the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people were slaughtered during fighting between Hutu tribesmen and their Tutsi rivals. Coffee, one of the country's biggest exports, was also a casualty of that massacre. For Michigan State University professor Dan Clay, a specialist in Third World agricultural development, rebuilding Rwanda's coffee industry proved a double-edged challenge: how to get the industry on its feet yet avoid the commodity trap that dooms many farmers to subsistence living in a world where coffee is abundant.

The solution was to go upmarket and try to make Rwanda more...

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