Rwanda Coffee Development Authority (Ocir-café) says that the targeted 29,000 tonnes of coffee projected will not be reached. Different provinces in the country have been experiencing variations in rain which affects production.
With the increasing application of fertilisers and planting genetically tested seedlings, Ocir-café had hoped to more than double the coffee production, from the 14,000 tonnes in 2007 to 29,000 tonnes this year.
However, Alex Kanyankole, the Managing Director of Ocir-café said that the target is not going to be attained, partly because of seasonal and climatic variations that did not stimulate production.
Kanyankole, therefore, hopes to have a lower-than-expected harvest, of 23,000 tonnes—this is a 20.6 per cent decrease.
Ocir-café had also projected that coffee earnings would increase from USD42.3 (Rwf2.3 billion) last year to USD50 million (Rwf27,5 billion) this year.
According to Kanyakole, the decrease in production also draws back the coffee earnings, from the expected USD50 million (Rwf27.5 billion) to about (USD46 million (Rwf25.3).
Coffee is part of the country’s leading export earners alongside tourism, tea and minerals. The steady increase in coffee earnings is partly due to initiatives to raise coffee standards and targeting high-value markets.
Sustaining Partnership to Enhance Rural Enterprises and Agribusiness Development (SPREAD), a USAID organisation assisting farmers in value addition is helping farmer in Rwanda.
Backed by a government, SPREAD has helped establish links with over 40 international buyers and roasters.
Rwanda now is an emerging grower of specialty coffee, producing some of the world’s top grades.
Rwandan coffee is mostly grown by small-scale farmers at high-altitude areas in rich volcanic soils. Currently, the country is believed to have over 550,000 coffee farmers who own 170 coffee trees each.
The country seeks to collect USD100 million (Rwf55.1 billion) from 35,000 tonnes of coffee exports by 2012.