Earnings from coffee export dropped by 19.5 percent to $37m (Rwf21.9b) in 2009 occasioned by the global financial crisis that hit the crop’s prices on the international market.
Rwanda, which generated $46.9m (Rwf26.2b) from coffee export in 2008, also saw a sharp decline in national coffee output from 22,000 tonnes in 2008 to 16,000 tonnes last year, Ocir-café, the agency that regulates coffee activities in the country said Tuesday.
“Last year, we registered significant decline in both production and revenues because of the global financial crisis that affected prices on the international market,” Alex Kanyankore, the Director General of Ocir-café said.
Kanyankore also attributed the low production to the low cycle of production that was experienced last year. He said that last year was characterized by low flowering of coffee trees.
However, farm gate prices in 2009 were better than any other year, rising to Rwf140 per kilogram of cherries compared with Rwf120 per kilogram in 2008.
The regulator says this year’s projections in volume and value are expected to reach 26,000 tonnes and $60m respectively.
“These projections are based on such facts as a good flowering season that has started. We are also implementing a new fertilizer program based on the soil tests that we carried out,” Kanyankore explained.
He said poor prices on the international market that were experienced in the first quarter of 2009 have started to go up again, a good signal for farmers and the country.
Kanyankore called upon farmers to improve the quality of the crop if they are to fully benefit from the newly discovered markets for Rwandan coffee in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia.
In order to motivate coffee farmers, this week Ocir-café rewarded dealers in different categories such as best quality of coffee, best exporter of fully washed coffee, outstanding partner and best contributor to coffee development among others.