The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) will next month train coffee farmers, dealers and other stakeholders, a move expected to enhance quality along the supply chain.
Betty Kayitesi, the in charge of international coffee marketing at NAEB, noted that coffee farmers and dealers are presently not making good profits due to poor handling skills, as well as lack of market information and speculation.
“Most coffee farmers and dealers do not know proper produce handling methods. Also, dealers often buy and stock coffee even when there are price fluctuations on the market. It is, therefore, important they learn the best practices and understand market trends to predict market situations,” Kayitesi noted.
She added that the training will also equip dealers with necessary skills to be able to negotiate good deals, especially on the global arena.
“If they negotiate good prices and are able to calculate their income; this will have a trickle-down effect in terms of better rates for farmers and boost farmers’ morale, which will ensure sustainable crop output,” Kayitesi said.
Colette Uwamahoro, the chairperson of Shining Coffee Exporting Cooperative in Bugesera District, noted that lack of the necessary market information and low rates have demoralised farmers, with some of them abandoning the crop.
“Limited knowledge on market value of coffee at national and international levels means that dealers often give farmers low prices, which discourages them,” Uwamahoro said.
Vedasiti Naganda, a coffee farmer from Nyanza District, is optimistic the training will help them gain requisite skills and knowledge to improve quality along the coffee supply chain.
Though Rwanda’s coffee is preferred on the global market, the sector sometimes faces issues of poor quality and low prices that demoralises farmers.
The coffee industry brought in about $5.3m (Rwf3.6b) during the month of November 2013, according to statistics from the National Agricultural Export Board.