Country targets $60m coffee earnings in 2009

KIGALI - The National Coffee Board (Ocir café) has projected Rwanda’s coffee earnings for 2009 at US$ 60 million, up from US$ 46 million last year, the board’s Director General revealed yesterday.
OCIR CAFE Director General Alex Kanyankore.
OCIR CAFE Director General Alex Kanyankore.

KIGALI - The National Coffee Board (Ocir café) has projected Rwanda’s coffee earnings for 2009 at US$ 60 million, up from US$ 46 million last year, the board’s Director General revealed yesterday.

Alex Kanyankore disclosed the figures to The New Times in a telephone interview but he could not provide more details on the projections, explaining that he was in a meeting and could not delve into details.

The anticipation on this year’s growing coffee earnings has emerged following last year’s extensive marketing of the product by the government and its partners, including the hosting in Rwanda of the first “Cup of Excellence” event in Africa.

As plans to increase earnings from coffee have been set for this year, some farmers seem to be urging government to contact more buyers.

One of them, Epiphania Mukashyaka, said that government should book markets for their coffee beforehand to avoid delay in sales.

“I still have six containers of coffee in the store waiting to be sold at this moment because our clients got problems and they couldn’t pay for our coffee,” she said as she recalled how she sold her coffee last year.

She noted that 2008 was relatively a good year for her business but she was worried that her clients were constrained with the global financial crisis. She recommended that government to source clients from wherever possible as part of its plan this year.

“Only government knows what to do and it needs to find us clients as early as possible to enable us deal with our bank loans in time,” said Mukashyaka who is based in Nyamagabe District in the southern province and was among the winners in the Cup of Excellence Competition.

Coffee is among Rwanda’s leading export cash crops, others being tea, fresh fruit and vegetables.

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