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The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), the Government of Japan through Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), coffee stakeholders from Rwanda and Japan have concluded a framework to improve the quality of local coffee.

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They emphasised the improvement of growing, processing, and marketing Rwanda’s coffee after observing that the country exported 329 tons of coffee to Japan in 2012, which is 0.1 percent of all the coffee consumed in Japan that year.

According to the Japan High commissioner in Rwanda, Kazuwa Ogawa, Japan will support coffee growing projects in a bid to elevate the quality and the quantity of the Rwandan coffee exported in their country.

He said that Japan consumes a lot of coffee but it always prefers high quality ones. He also added that once Rwandan coffee quality is upgraded, his country will become Rwanda’s future important market.

“As I mentioned, Japanese consume a lot of coffee, but we don’t just drink any coffee. We prefer good quality one; in that sense. Japan is likely to import high quality coffee and I wish Rwanda to be on top of coffee exporting countries,” he said.

NAEB’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Kayitankore, said that their ongoing programs with JICA include an undertaking to provide coffee farmers with training, fertilizers, and renovating coffee farms.

“We have been able to develop marketing strategies for Rwandan coffee and we are working on modernisation and extension of the strategies in Japanese cities in our coffee exhibition every year that happens in September,” he said.

“The quality has been undergoing modification from coffee farmers’ limited knowledge but coffee care will be starting from the farm up to processing industries and on the market”.

The Head of coffee farmers in Kirehe District, Jeremy Iyakaremye, said that the meeting provided him with added knowledge in coffee production which he will be sharing with other members of the association.

“Quality determines the price of coffee and we are going to apply instructions from technicians to improve our production,” he said.

Official figures show that coffee prices have continuously decreased as a result of the fragile global economy.

Rwanda exported 20,000 tons of coffee last year at US$ 3.5 (around Rwf 2,200) per kilo.

The New Times