Gov’t cuts coffee prices, cites global price decline

The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) has revised the farm gate price for coffee cherries downwards to Rwf143 from Rwf170 per kilogramme.
Farmers checking a coffee tree for pre-season harvest. Coffee farmers will have to contend with less earnings after a drop in world crop prices hurt local pricing. The New Times/Courtsey
Farmers checking a coffee tree for pre-season harvest. Coffee farmers will have to contend with less earnings after a drop in world crop prices hurt local pricing. The New Times/Courtsey

The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) has revised the farm gate price for coffee cherries downwards to Rwf143 from Rwf170 per kilogramme.

The agricultural exports board said the move was occasioned by the declining coffee prices on the global market.

“We cannot control international prices for coffee, but we hope it will not drop further.

“However, with the new farm gate price, farmers will have a Rwf63 profit per kilogramme of coffee cherries sold, assuming they incur Rwf80 to produce each kilogramme of coffee,” Celestin Gatarayiha, the head of the coffee division at the National Agricultural Export Board, told Business Times.

The board also said the price was agreed on during a recent meeting between the National Agricultural Export Board and over 150 stakeholders, including farmers, banks and exporters.

Meanwhile, farmers and processors have been urged to observe basic requirements to improve the quality and the price of coffee.

“Coffee cherries should be taken to washing stations within eight hours after they have been harvested,” said Eric Ruganintwali, the director of quality control at NAEB.

He added that everyone involved was critical in ensuring that the expected coffee quality was achieved, arguing that high quality coffee was the country’s main competitive advantage on the international market.

Rwanda earned $60m from coffee exports in 2012, a decline from $75m the previous year due to poor prices.

The National Agricultural Export Board targets to increase the quantity of coffee beans exported this year from 21,000 tonnes to 26,000, from which it expects to collect $99m.

Access to finance has been one of the challenges affecting coffee farmers, with banks urging them to join co-operatives if they want to acquire funding.

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