Coffee producing companies and farmers in Western Province are requesting for more seedlings for an ongoing replacement program of the aging coffee trees. Data from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) shows that over six million coffee trees are old in Western Province. The Coffees Washing Station (CWSs) and authorities say that lack of enough seedlings is amongst the top challenges why a lot of trees remain not replaced. For example, in Rutsiro district there is a need for more seedlings though the exercise for replacement exercise that kicked off early this year. Over 36,000 aging trees have been replaced in the Kigeyo sector. “Coffee farmers are wary that they will not harvest enough in the next two years once trees are replaced even though they look old and this may affect their income,” said Modest Munezero, a Coffee Washing Station Manager in Musasa Sector, Rutsiro District. He says 700,000 coffee trees need to be replaced in this sector. Currently, there are 126,000 families that depend on coffee farming in the western province. According to the acting Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit, Nathalie Mujawimana, in Rutsiro district, there is lack of sufficient seedlings as a main challenge being encountered. Lack of seedlings and low yields are some of the challenges coffee growers agree on being encountered, too. “I do not get enough earnings anymore. You can see these trees are too old to give us good harvest,” said Samuel Mfitumukiza, a resident from Kivumu Sector, Rutsiro district, he also shares the same concerns with his neighbour Pascal Bazimaziki. A lot of residents from this area say they do not get seedlings for the replacement. Speaking to The New Times, the District Environmental Management Officer, Ananie Niyibeshaho, who also doubles as the acting District Cash Crop Officer in Nyamasheke District said that there are some farmers who are unwilling to replace the old coffee trees over worrying for the next source of income. In Nyamasheke District, over 39,000 families depend on coffee growing. “The key challenges being encountered are lack of motivation to invest in the coffee zones of coffee washing stations and farmers are challenged by not having other sources of money,” he said. Niyibeshaho suggests that there is a need for mobilization so that coffee washing stations understand that they should increase their investment for the replacement. “Farmers should know that replacement is done at small scale areas in the plantation so that the whole plantation, for example, can be replaced in three or four years,” he added. Rutsiro district has over 5 million trees with which over one million are old. It is the same problem in the districts of Rubavu, Karongi and Nyamasheke are battling with. Rubavu District faces the challenges of establishment of infrastructures, like roads, which destroy coffee farms, lack of fertilizers and limited scale of land as the District Cash Crops Officer, Gentille Mukarubuga, says. According to the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), there are upcoming projects dedicated for coffee rejuvenation that will cover Nyamasheke, Rusizi, Huye, Nyamagabe, Karongi as well as Ruhango Districts by 2023. There is, for example, a Global Climate Funded project in 2024 that will cover Rutsiro and Gakenke Districts, the board says. This year, 650,000 coffee seedlings were prepared in Rutsiro District for free distribution to farmers for planting during the entire season of 2023A. Coffee exports brought in $ 75.5 million for the fiscal year 2021/2022 representing a 23% increase over the previous fiscal year's revenues where over 15 million kilograms of coffee exported in 2021-2022.