With the production of roasted and instant coffee projected to rise, Rwanda should improve the quality of coffee further. The move will see the country earn $60m from coffee exports—this is a 21 per cent increase in revenue.
Last year, only $47m was earned from the coffee exports. At present, coffee producers in the country remain earning very little money from coffee trading.
To help these farmers out, stakeholders should strive to see that coffee growers get an income which encourages them to maintain their coffee trees and increase production.
To achieve the strategy, the coffee marketing board should strive to steps-up the marketing of coffee at both local and international level but also ensure quality.
Important to note is, the quality of the coffee produced at washing stations remains competitive in order to be positioned on the specialty coffees market. Ocir café, Rwanda’s coffee authority will have to play an active role through laboratory analysis.
There is need to give advices to investors in washing stations, while tasters need to be trained. The number of coffee experts that can taste and grade the coffee has also to be increased to satisfy the washing stations’ needs.
Last year there were 74 new coffee washing stations in use by various government and private owned coffee associations.
With these facilities, the country managed to export at least 3,000 tonnes of fully washed coffee. The total quantity of all green coffee exported hit 26,000 tonnes.
Based on information from Ocir-café, 80 coffee washing stations are expected to be in use this year whereas 6,000 tonnes of fully washed coffee is to be produced and exported.
While, 31,000 tonnes of green-coffees is expected to be produced. The country will earn $60 million instead of the $47 million—thus bridging $13 million shortfall.
Therefore the Rwandan coffee sector must break away from low production and poor quality. It is important to focus on a sector based strategy towards competitiveness on the international market.
The good news is that Rwanda is capable of producing Arabica coffee of good commercial quality based on research carried out in 2002 by two specialised coffee roasting houses of green mountains an sustainable harvest.
The research says that during the period, samples from Maraba coffee producers were tested by green mountains coffee experts based in USA and obtained a mark of 79 per cent, thus attaining the second position to Guatamalan coffees.
Today, the cultivation of coffee involves more than 500,000 families and covers about 33,000 hectares, with approximately 80 million coffee plants.
With the implementation of the new coffee sector development strategy established in 1998, coffee production in the country is improving progressively.