Business seems to be booming as Rwanda’s coffee export revenues increased to $8.3 million (Rwf6.5 billion) during the first quarter of this year, up from $6.6 million same period in 2015.
A report by the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) indicates that Rwanda exported 3,310,339 million kilos of coffee during the first quarter of 2016 up from 1,824,629million kilos same period in 2015. The export body attributes the excellent performance to the increased production and good agronomical practices including embracing coffee washing stations and fertilizer application. Equally, the selling of the 2015 old stock also contributed to the increase in coffee revenue during the first three months of 2016.
The export organ has been emphasizing, value addition, and encouraging farmers and cooperatives to take advantage of the coffee washing stations to boost the quality of coffee exports along value chain, a statement from NAEB indicated. There are currently 229 coffee washing stations across the country that serve more than 400,000 farmers who depend on coffee farming for their livelihood.
Recently, NAEB unveiled a five-year strategic plan aimed at increasing coffee exports. The strategic plan seeks to increase coffee exports to an annual average growth rate of 29% to achieve annual export receipts of more than $104,300,000 by 2018 from $60,887,640 in 2013.
The strategic plan is to increase productivity and value addition along the value chain to make the country’s coffee industry more competitive and beneficial to farmers.
For example, NAEB is now focusing on Investing in coffee roasting, and increasing productivity through fertilizer application. NAEB will ensure that more benefit from the fertilizer fund which was introduced to increase production. Capacity building in this sector is equally expected to reach around 45, 000 farmers by 2017.
The overall objective according to the export body is to increase productivity from 2.4kg per coffee tree in 2013 to 3.1kg per tree by 2018. Additional land of about 3000 ha will be secured to increase productivity while reemphasizing the need for increasing fully washed coffee up to 71% by 2018.
Rwanda exports 42% of its coffee to Switzerland, 12.4% to United Kingdom, 20.9% to the United States markets, 5.8% South Africa, 0.5% Germany and 1.5% to South Korea among others.