Rwanda has fetched $423,396 (about Rwf318 million) from this year’s online coffee auction, an increase from $301,771 (about Rwf226.3 million) generated in 2014.
Over 20610.19kg (24 lots) of coffees, that won this year’s Cup of Excellence, were sold during the online auction at Café Neo in Kigali on Wednesday. Last year, 28 lots were sold online. The Internet auction attracted more than 80 coffee business dealers from around the globe.
Muyongwe coffee attracted the highest bid of $67.4 (about Rwf50,550) per kilogramme, while Nyagatare’s Mahembe was second going for $53 (about Rwf39,750) per kilogramme.
Other coffees that attracted good price include CFC Muhondo, Rwamatamu Coffee, and Maraba 1. Last year, the winning coffee fetched $81/kg, according to NAEB.
The auction, conducted by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE), a New York-based organisation, and National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), attracted 81 companies from the US, Japan, China, South Korea, the UK, Australia, South Africa, and Rwanda. ACE is a US-based non-profit organisation that advances excellence in coffee through its flagship Cup of Excellence competition and auction.
Speaking during the auction, Geraldine Mukeshimana, the Minister for Agriculture, urged farmers to embrace value-addition as one of the tools to attract good prices.
“We are also targeting to increase production to 6kg per tree, from current 3.1kg per tree. This will help us compete favourably on the international market, besides benefitting farmers and other stakeholders along the value chain,” Mukeshimana said.
NAEB has drafted a new coffee policy to guide various activities in the coffee sector, as well as improve productivity and ensure quality along the value chain.
According to Anastaze Minani, the president of Dukundekawa-Musasa Co-operative, farmers can earn more from their coffee if they utilise washing stations.
A recent report by International Growth Centre indicated that the country’s coffee revenues could increase by 20 per cent if all the country’s coffee was exported as fully-washed coffee. There are 229 coffee washing stations across the country.
Coffee is one of the country’s major sources of foreign exchange. Boosting volumes and quality could, therefore, help the country balance its trade. It is a source of income for some 400,000 farmers across the country.
Rwanda’s coffee export revenue declined by 21 per cent in July due to a decline in international prices, according to statistics from NAEB. The average export market price per kilo has since declined by 23 per cent, from $4.23 July 2014 to $3.24 per kilo in 2015.