Rwanda’s coffee exports increased by 5.45 per cent to 7.6million kilos in the first half 2016 up from 7.1million Kgs same period 2015.
The National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) estimates quantities of coffee sold from January to July 2016 at 7,580,795 kg way above 7,189,795 kgs sold in 2015 reflecting a 5.45 percent increment.
However, farmers never benefited from this increase as export receipts declined by almost 12.7 percent due to reduction in international coffee prices.
According to the report, revenues realized from January to July 2016 stood at only $20,250,716 compared to $23,198,797 same period in 2015.
This means, famers produced more but earned less.
For Example, in July alone, revenues dropped by almost 26.9 per cent to $ 4,424,697 comapred to $6,053,149 same period 2015.
Equally prices declined to $2.97/kg down from 3.24 kg same period in 2015. Overall, Rwanda’s coffee production capacity increased by 0.4 percent.
The export body has been working hard to ensure increased production through good agronomical practices, including embracing coffee washing stations and fertilizer application, among other initiatives.
Equally, NAEB has been emphasizing value addition and encouraging farmers and cooperatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to boost the quality of coffee exports, a statement from NAEB indicated.
More than 400,000 farmers depend on coffee farming for their livelihood. There are currently 229 coffee washing stations across the country.
More importantly, NAEB recently unveiled a five-year strategic plan aimed at increasing coffee exports. The strategic plan seeks to increase coffee exports to an annual average growth rate of 29% to achieve annual export receipts of more than $104,300,000 by 2018, from $60,887,640 in 2013. The strategic plan is to increase productivity and value addition along the value chain to make the country’s coffee industry more competitive and beneficial to farmers.
The idea, according to NAEB, is to increase productivity from 2.4kg per coffee tree in 2013 to 3.1kg per tree by 2018.
Additional land of about 3000ha will be secured to increase productivity while re-emphasizing the need for increasing fully washed coffee up to 71% by 2018.
Rwanda exports 42% of its coffee to Switzerland, 12.4% to United Kingdom, 20.9% to the United States, 5.8% to South Africa, 0.5% Germany and 1.5% to South Korea, among others.