The government is gearing up towards making $157 million by 2017 from coffee exports by first advising farmers, processors and exporters to form an umbrella body.
The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) is leading the effort to make this happen.
During a recent workshop the NAEB Director General, George Kayonga said: “We want all such people to form an association which will help create better communication in the coffee sector.”
Rwanda earned $ 60.9 million from coffee in 2012 and about $74.6 million in 2011. This was a decline of about 18.4% and a situation the government does not want see continuing.
A big percentage of Rwandans living in rural areas are farmers. This is why the government is fighting a lot to determine on how the sector can improve.
Kayonga gave an example of the Kenya Tea Development Agency which produces fertilizers, and pesticides which are used by farmers in Rwanda.
He said if coffee farmers are under one umbrella all such inputs can be produced within the country which will significantly contribute to more earnings.
Rwanda, with a target of producing 24,000 tonnes of coffee by end of the year, expects to earn about $87 million.
During the workshop it was noted that most of the problems coffee farmers, processors and exporters face are mostly sorted out by NAEB as a government based institution that caters for export agriculture.
Corneille Ntakirutimana, the Director in charge of Production at NAEB, said that with the incomes brought in, you will then be able to buy fertilizers plus other needed equipment which will contribute to farmers’economic development.”
Rwanda is making steady gains as a specialty coffee grower with customers in the United States of America.
According to Roasterie, an industry watcher, by growing specialty coffee, Rwandan farmers and co-ops have seen profits increasing for over 10 years up to now.
‘In 2000, Rwanda’s first coffee cooperative earned around $0.20 for one kilogram of regular-quality coffee. Fast-forward 11 years the same co-op earned $3.50 per kilogram.
The profits that these Rwandan coffee farmers have made have allowed them to send their children to school, build new homes and invest back into their own plantations,’ states Roasterie.
Coffee Rwanda is one of the leading dealers in specialty coffee.
Source: The Eastern African Business Week