Rwanda’s coffee export revenues dropped by 5.17 per cent to $60.7 million last fiscal year, from $64.03 million registered the previous year, a new National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) report indicates. This represents a decline of over $3 million in revenue, or 5.17 per cent, compared to the same period the previous year. The year’s earnings were also way below $76.2 million target NAEB had projected.
The agro-export body attributed the decrease to the drop in global coffee prices over the reporting period. On average, prices for the beans have declined from $3.87 per kilogramme during the 2014 to 2015 coffee year to about $3 per kilo this year.
However, the volumes exported increased to 19.6 million kilos over the period, up from 16.5 million kilogrammes exported the previous year.
Total coffee production rose from 16.9 million kilogrammes during the 2014 to 2015 period to 20.03 million kilos in the last 12 months to June 30.
“We have registered an 18 per cent increase in production, representing an additional 3.1 million kilogrammes,” NAEB said in a statement.
The export body attributes the improved performance to good agronomical practices, as well as the fact that most farmers embraced coffee washing stations, among other initiatives. NAEB is emphasising value-addition, and encouraging farmers and co-operatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to boost the quality and volumes. There are currently 229 coffee washing stations across the country.
Rwanda exports about 42 per cent of its coffee to Switzerland, 12.4 per cent to the United Kingdom, and 20.9 per cent to the United States. South Africa takes 5.8 per cent of the beans, 0.5 per cent go to Germany, and 1.5 per cent to South Korea.
More than 400,000 Rwandans earn their livelihood from coffee farming.
Under a five-year strategic plan guiding coffee production, NAEB aims at increasing the beverage exports by 29 per cent annually, and generating more than $104.3 million in earnings by 2018, up from $60.9 million in 2013.