The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) has launched nationwide coffee census in provinces.
The census will last 10 days.
Enumerators will gather data regarding coffee farmers’ profile, number of coffee-trees and their age; area covered by plantations, number of coffee farmers in each locality, among others.
The exercise is expected to generate database needed for proper planning in the coffee sector, in part, to increase coffee production and quality.
Officiating at the census launch in Rusiga Sector, Rulindo District, Aime Bosenibamwe, the governor of Northern Province, said this year’s census results will help in coffee planning and management from the field up to the consumer level.
“For this to happen smoothly, it must be based on tangible and valid data. Coffee farmers should sustain this crop as not only a tool of eradicating poverty but also a tool of self-reliance,” Bosenibamwe said.
He advised farmers to work under cooperatives, improve coffee quality to attract fair prices and adopt a saving culture for more development activities.
Rulindo has an ambition to expand coffee plantation up to 600 hectares of land.
The governor challenged farmers to play a pivotal role toward achieving the district’s goal.
He commended farmers for working to ensure food security in the district but urged them to embrace coffee farming, saying the area climate was suitable for the crop.
“It’s high time you move from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming. Some of you are still keeping their traditional crops which are not suitable to your area such as bananas; you have to replace them with this cash crop to achieve financial self-reliance,” Bosenibamwe said.
Amb. George William Kayonga, the NAEB chief executive, stressed the need to know the location of Rwanda coffee plantations and their category in terms of number, age and productivity.
The census would enable policy makers to know areas with highest or lowest coffee trees and their production, he said.
This would help in the planning process in terms of distribution of farm inputs to farmers as well as marketing purposes, he added.
“In the long run, the data will help us in traceability of Rwandan coffee farmers. As Rwandan coffee is becoming popular, worldwide, consumers may want to know the background of the admired coffee. So the data will help to trace the farmer of such coffee,” Kayonga said.
The NAEB chief urged farmers to be cooperative by giving accurate information to the census enumerators.
Farmers welcome census
Coffee farmers who attended the launch expressed optimism that the census would facilitate easy access to extension services, fertilisers and pesticides.
Frodouard Murangwa, who owns 3,500 coffee trees, said: “I have a large coffee plantation and it is not easy to get all the required inputs. Besides, sometimes, the prices given to us at the coffee washing station is too low. I hope this census will help address some of these challenges.”
NAEB figures show that, last year, Rwanda’s green coffee production was at 16,380 metric tonnes, which raked in over $59.6 million in revenue. The country targets to have 26,000 metric tonnes of green coffee to generate $76 million in revenue this year.