Coffe farmers are eager to prove the quality of their products in the forthcoming Cup of Excellence 2013 competition, where they will showcase their finest brands in a bid to attract more customers.
Since its inception in 2008, the Cup of Excellence has created competitiveness among dealers in the country and paved way for more international investments in the sector.
According to the National Agricultural Exportation Board (NAEB), farmers will be mobilised and prepared to participate in the competition, which is slated for next month and the finale will be held in Huye District.
“The annual event is a big forum to market and brand Rwandan coffee. This is a unique opportunity for coffee farmers to showcase the uniqueness in their coffees, as well as interact with cuppers from different parts of the world,” a statement from NAEB reads.
The board also distributed guidelines and rules to guide farmers and processors on how to qualify for the competition. NAEB urged farmers, processors and exporters to start preparing for the competition.
“This is going to be a great event; the eventual winner will get many incentives but even the participants are bound to get buyers. This is why I am looking at it keenly as a marketing event,” Jean Bosco Ngabonzinza of COOPEC, a renowned coffee co-operative told The New Times yesterday.
“It will also be a big opportunity to market coffee brands in foreign markets because the quality will be guaranteed.”
The executive secretary of Dukunde Kawa Co-operative, Isaac Nsanzamahoro, is optimistic that many farmers and processors will participate in order to gain an edge in the competition.
“When a farmer wins in the competition, we pay them an extra fee when buying their coffee because we believe it is the best. That is why farmers love these competitions,” he said.
Rwanda also participates in different regional and international coffee exhibitions like African Coffee Association (AFCA). Recently, Rwandan coffee was exhibited in Boston, USA, during the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference.
International price for coffee currently stands at $3.1 (Rwf1,955) per kilogramme, while the farm gate price this year is Rwf143 per kilogramme of cherries.
NAEB, which is the custodian for coffee exports, currently boasts of 19 tonnes of coffee in its warehouse, which is expected to be shipped within three weeks.
However, the industry has over the years been susceptible to price fluctuations, although this is a similar challenge to other agricultural products as well, according to NAEB.
Coffee revenues dropped to $44.7m in 2012 (between January and October) from $61.3m in the same period of 2011.