COMMENTARY: Regional fine coffees’ conference opens this week

The 6th ‘East African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition’, starts this week in Kigali, at Serena hotel.

The 6th ‘East African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition’, starts this week in Kigali, at Serena hotel.

Under the theme: “A coffee journey to the land of a thousand hills,” the event is to promote and market quality coffees, from within the Eastern and the Southern African regions.

The Rwanda Coffee Development Board (Ocir-cafe), says the event is aimed at promotion that will help the country increase export revenue to $120 million by 2012.

The event will bring together regional stakeholders to exhibit their coffee, while discussing challenges and opportunities in the industry.

According to the programme, the event will start Tuesday with a Rwanda National Barista Championship (RNBC) training at Bourbon Coffee Shop in Kigali. It is the first of its kind in Rwanda.

This is aimed at promoting coffee qual-ity through value addition and its domestic consumption. Currently, Rwanda’s domestic coffee consumption is estimated at 5 percent while the 95 percent is exported.

This particular event will be followed by a two-day African scientific coffee conference and exhibition.

The EACFA Executive Officer, Phillip Gitao, said that the event will have a series of activities high¬lighting coffee developmental pro¬grammes such as regional coffee auctioning and coffee research.

Ocir-cafe says the conference will enhance value additional skills a requirement for export promo¬tion. Its one of the initiatives Rwanda will use to strength its marketing tools and expand its international market.

About 600 coffee dealers from outside Rwanda are expected to attend and these will include; processors, associations, roast¬ers, dealers, retailers, and coffee professionals.

The event is expected to be graced by the president, Paul Kagame. Other dignitaries to at¬tend include East African Com¬munity (EAC) and Common Mar¬ket for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary Generals, US Ambassador to Rwanda and Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

EAFCA is an association of coffee producers, processors, marketing people and organi¬sations in the ten Eastern and Southern African countries of  Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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