The National Agricultural Export Board (Naeb) has started a campaign to crackdown campaign targeting illegal coffee processors and dealers.
Innocent Kayiranga, the coffee production development and support officer at Naeb, said the drive, which started in Gasabo District last week, seeks to ‘clean up’ coffee trade and promote use of coffee washing stations.
He said during the operation by Naeb and Police, an unlicensed coffee plant in Rutanga sector, Gasabo District was closed down.
Kayiranga said there are still many more illegal processors across the country, but added that the crackdown will weed them out “because they are a threat to the coffee sector.”
“We want to make sure that processors comply with guidelines to improve the quality of coffee along the value chain,” Kayiranga said.
He added that the countrywide campaign targets unscrupulous processors and dealers, saying this will help enhance the quality and value of Rwanda’s coffee exports.
Early this year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry instructed farmers and processors to use coffee washing stations in a bid to control quality and make Rwanda’s coffee more competitive on the world market.
However despite this directive, some farmers still sell coffee to illegal processors.
There are 229 coffee washing stations across the country, serving over 400,000 farmers.
Recent research indicates that fully-washed coffee earns more on the global market compared to ordinary coffee.
The research by the International Growth Centre indicated that if Rwanda doubled the amount of fully-washed coffee exports, it would earn about 20 per cent more in coffee exports revenues.
Stakeholders welcome the initiative
Eric Rukwaya, the sales and marketing manager at Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company, said the campaign will also fight unfair competition and make the coffee sector more competitive and profitable.