Value addition of coffee exports drives up value

Roasted coffee beans. File.

Rwanda coffee farmers for the first time exported ten tonnes of roasted coffee beans to the United States.

Officials from National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) said it is the highest shipment from Rwanda saying that it adds value to the sector’s development as previously exports were washed green coffee.

Sector experts say that 10 tonne shipment generates more value as its processed compared to washed green coffee.

Eric Rukwaya, the Sales and Marketing Manager at Rwanda farmers Coffee Company (RFCC), said that if the exports were green coffee, it would have had a value US$42,000 (Rwf35,000,000) compared to U$77,000 (Rwf66, 177,000) generated.

The shipment is the first following a five-year coffee business agreement partnership signed in February 2018 between Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company (RFCC) and the Global Food of USA, facilitated by National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).

The partnership was developed to support the ‘beyond fair-trade’ business model whereby farmers share in the value of each sales of roasted coffee.

The business partnership between Global Food and RFCC was negotiated beginning 2016 with the terms including establishment of Global Food operational offices in Kigali to supply of over 36 tonnes of roasted coffee to the American Market.

Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company is a coffee roasting facility located in Kigali with a mission to retain a value from the coffee chain for farmers’ livelihood improvement and Rwanda coffee sector development.

Rukwaya said that other significant trade volumes of roasted coffee by the RFCC were recorded in 2015 whereby seven tonnes (7Tonnes) were shipped to United Kingdom.

In 2017, four and half tonnes worth US$36,000 were sold to different international markets, including Germany and South Korea.

“This year, we plan to export a total of 40 tonnes which is expected to generate a total of US$ 320,000 (Rwf 273,600,000),” he said.

The partnership will not only increase foreign earnings for Rwanda but it will also support 5,452 coffee farmers (36% of which are women) and their families from six cooperatives in the country in the quest to improve their economic and social welfare, he added.

So far, through this ‘beyond fair trade’ business model, two cooperatives supplying “green coffee beans” to RFCC have been funded for two projects of around Rwf10 million for  wastewater treatment from coffee washing station in Sholi coffee cooperative of Muhanga District and  supplying clean water to cooperative members in Musasa and Gakenke District coffee washing stations.

By sourcing, processing, packing and direct marketing this high end specialty coffee from Rwanda to USA markets, Global Food, pledged to significantly raise the profile and brand of Rwandan coffee to coffee lovers in the USA and to the rest of the world.

Rukwaya added that with the acquired support of the Export Growth Facility (EGF) of the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company will continue to grow its export market of roasted coffee.

 

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