Two coffee co-operatives from Gakenke and Muhanga districts have received Rwf9.7 million funding for clean water supply and waste water treatment projects at their coffee washing stations.
The funding from Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company is part of the $2.1 million net earnings by the firm over the last six months, according to Innocent Uwimana, the managing director.
He explained that the firm ploughs back some of its earnings under a deal with government, which aims at supporting the coffee sector.
Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company is a large-scale coffee roaster and packaging firm implemented as a public private partnership between the National Agricultural Export Board, Development Bank of Rwanda and Clinton Hunter Development Initiative.
Sholi Coffee Co-operative in Muhanga District received Rwf5.5 million for a waste water treatment and environmental protection project, while Gakenke’s Dukundekawa-Musasa Cooperative pocketed Rwf4.2 million for clean water supply to its coffee washing station and surrounding communities.
Uwimana explained that these were the first beneficiaries, adding that the two co-operatives had best project proposals that seek to improve quality of fully-washed coffee.
“The initiative will encourage farmers and other stakeholders along the value chain to ensure quality of fully-washed coffee to boost export revenues,” he added.
Eric Rukwaya, the sales and marketing manager, said the funding will increase farmers’ morale besides helping to improve the quality and value of Rwanda’s fully-washed coffee.
Anastaze Minani, the president of Dukundekawa-Musasa Co-operative, said their project in Gakenke will benefit over 140 coffee farmers.
“We want to ensure that all the coffee washing stations access clean water… We also want to encourage farmers to use coffee washing stations in the area to ensure quality of our coffees,” Minani said.
There are 229 coffee washing stations across the country.
According to experts, farmers can earn more from their coffee if they fully utilise washing stations.
A recent report by International Growth Centre indicated that the coffee revenues could increase by 20 per cent if all the country’s coffee was exported as fully-washed coffee.
In 2014, Rwanda fetched over $59.7 million from coffee exports, up from $54.9 million in 2013.