Rwanda to host 2009 Africa coffee meeting

Rwanda has been chosen to host next year’s sixth African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition.

Rwanda has been chosen to host next year’s sixth African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition.

The annual conference, themed ‘A Coffee Journey to the Land of a Thousand Hills’ will be held in Kigali as announced at the close of this year’s conference last Saturday in Kampala, Uganda.

Meanwhile, the East African Fine Coffee Association (EAFCA) is in talks with the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) in an effort to secure funding for its future projects.

Rwanda is one of the EAFCA member countries, others being Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The association aims at promoting coffee production and consumption in the region.
The new Executive Director of EAFCA, Phillip Gitao, says funds are being sought to implement a project that aims at improving on sustainable production among the region’s farmers.

According to the latest report from Coffee and Cocoa International (C&CI), this project is one of the many projects that EAFCA intends to implement.

“The project is however not yet off the ground. We will be able to publicize it once all ends are tied up and activities are about to commence,” Gitao said recently.

He commended USAID for its “instrumental role in the EAFCA projects by facilitating many of the association’s projects like that of ‘Taste of Harvest coffee cupping competitions”. He noted that the project has been very successful in improving production and quality.

“We would like to see more projects like this that target the entire value chain and focus on production, domestic consumption and the creation of awareness of high quality Eastern African Coffees,” he said.

He said that such steps and projects would help in improving the standards of living of the producer and in turn leave the consumer satisfied with high quality coffee product. Rwanda’s famed Specialty Coffee has improved the incomes and standards of living of farmers, and attracted interest of the world’s giant coffee investors like Starbucks.
Gitao said that EAFCA held training workshops and Taste of Harvest competitions last year in Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi and Zambia.

Such programmes, he said, are also planned for Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda this year.

He explained: “Farmers in East African region have been producing coffee for a long time, but most of them, if not all, hardly taste their coffee. The growers needed to learn to appreciate the factors that affect the quality of their coffee.”
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