Annual coffee competition kicks off in Kayonza today – UMUSEKE – News indeed
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Coffee farmers are upbeat as this year’s Cup of Excellence competition kicks off to select the best coffees in the country. 
Corneille Ntakirutimana, the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) acting director general, said the competition gives processors a chance to showcase their coffees to attract better buyers. 

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He also noted that the Cup of Excellence is a platform that links farmers, exporters and coffee roasters with buyers.

Ntakirutimana said the last stage of the competition starts in Kayonza District with a dinner reception today. Tomorrow, the 12 contesting firms will face an international jury and the award ceremony will be held on August 16 in Huye District.

He said coffees with above 90 points are awarded the Presidential Award, while those that score between 85 and 90 points are awarded the Cup of Excellence Award.

“These winning coffees are chosen by a select group of national and international cuppers and are cupped at least five different times during the competition process,” he explained.

The winners are awarded the Cup of Excellence and the coffees are sold to the highest bidder during an Internet auction, Ntakirutimana added during a press briefing at NAEB offices in Gikondo, Kigali last week.

The auction, which is slated for October, is where farmers are expected to fetch the best prices, ranging from $3 and $6 per kilogramme for specialty coffee.

Ntakirutimana said 60 per cent of the auction proceeds go back to the farmers.

The Cup of Excellence is a promotional tool for the country’s coffee, and is internationally-sanctioned, he added.

Thirteen experts from different countries will adjudicate at this year’s competition, according to NAEB officials.

“We bring different judges each year so that we can get new buyers,” said Ndambe Nzaramba, the deputy director general in charge of export operations and market development at NAEB.

He explained that the winning coffees are selected through a three-stage process.

The inaugural Cup of Excellence competition in Rwanda was conducted in 2008.

Coffee is known for its stimulating effects to people' brains
Coffee is known for its stimulating effects to people’ brains

The coffee sector is targeting to generate $157m from exports by 2017, compared to $87m expected from the export of 24,000 tonnes of the crop this year.

The Cup of Excellence contest is held annually in many coffee-producing countries, including Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia and Uganda.

The New Times

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