Not far from sister stations Bwenda and Gitega Hills is the Horizon station, found in the neighbouring Kigoma sector. The site is just 20km from Huye Mountain and nearby to the small town of Simbi.
The story behind Horizon’s name is a curious and slightly unsettling one. Sometime after the station was built in 2006, production was halted when the original owner was arrested and jailed due to his involvement in the genocide of 1994. The station lay dormant until RTC re-established production in partnership with its new owner, Fdel. Since Fdel is not originally from the area, his taking ownership of the station was met with some hostility by the local community. Now, passing through Kigali city you will notice the slogan ‘Horizon’ everywhere, on trucks and buildings. The Horizon group, whose business is infrastructure construction and repair are in fact owned by Rwanda’s defence ministry. In a move to tease the locals, Fdel named the Station ‘Horizon – Supreme Coffee’ to make the point that he was in conflict with them. Fortunately the joke was taken as playful rather than mean-spirited and the station has become a positive addition to the community in the work it provides for the local people.
Ninety-four people are employed by the station with 4 full-time. 70% of staff are women.
The small 3 hectare area sits long in the valley with steep slopes surrounding it. Pineapples grow on the verges and avocado trees line the walk down to the site. It sits at 1680 metres but the farms surrounding the station are much higher up, closer to 2000 metres. 1200 farmers contribute cherry to the station from farms that are all within 2km from the site. The average farm size is 7000 trees (3ha), and some have only 100 trees, amongst other crops.
In 2019, the first year production restarted, the station processed 450 tons of cherry. All 1200 farmers are members of the ATP. Farmers receive organic fertiliser from the station consisting of recycled cherry pulp, which is fermented with lime and molasses to create EM2.