Rwanda will next year hold another Cup of Excellence (CoE) promotional competition in a bid to boost coffee revenue earnings.
Without revealing details, the Director General of the Rwanda Coffee Authority (Ocir-Cafe), Alex Kanyakole said, “We will be having another competition within the course of next year.”
“Details of the event will be communicated soon,” he added.
Rwanda has always held such events to promote its coffees with the CoE as the most prestigious and internationally recognised event.
Rwanda first hosted the CoE last year, which was also the event’s first on the African continent. The event also offers online auction for winning coffees selected through a three-stage process of the competition.
The process begins with pre-selection and judging by a national and international panel of juries.
The aroma, sweetness, cleanliness, flavour, acidity, aftertaste and balance are all considered. Winning coffees are sold online to renowned coffee dealers worldwide.
Last year the inaugural competition attracted 125 coffees before pre-selection but only saw 24 samples meeting the international quality standards.
Out of the 24 coffees awarded the CoE, the sample from Multi-sector Investment Group Ltd (MIG), received highest bid of $39.7 (Rwf21,865) per kg from Solberg and Hansen AS, one of the largest suppliers of specialty coffee in Norway.
Despite a record price for Rwanda’s cash crop, coffee cooperatives have struggled this year with low prices and limited demand. A vivid example is Horizon, an agro-based company that turned away from processing coffee to sericulture.
The company’s Operations Manager, Jerome Mureramanzi said that the price of coffee (estimated at $2.25 (Rwf1,276) per kg rather than $3.35 (Rwf1,900)) has forced the company to stop any processing this year.
This was also evident with Central Bank statistics showing a decrease of 21.1 percent in value and 13 percent in volume of coffee in the first semester of 2009 compared to a 9.3 percent average price decrease in the same period of 2008.
However, Ocir-Café predicts that coffee exports in the last semester of this year are expected to improve by 10 percent. Government targets $60 million (Rwf34.1 billion) from coffee this year, up from $46 million (Rwf26.7 billion) last year.