Good prices on the global market boosted Rwanda’s coffee export revenue during the first 11 months of the last year despite a drop in volumes, the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) report indicates.
According to the report, Rwanda’s total coffee export revenue rose to $59.8 million (Rwf51.4 billion) during the first 11 months of 2017, up from $53.8 million (almost Rwf46.3 billion) earned over same period in 2016, representing a growth in value of 11.1 per cent or $6 million.
However, the volumes exported dropped to 17.2 million kilogrammes during the period under review, down from 17.39 million kilogrammes in 2016.
Coffee prices averaged about $3.55 (Rwf3,053) per kilogramme on the international market during the reporting period compared to $3.13 (about Rwf2,692) recorded between January to November 30, 2016.
“This situation (increase in export earnings during the reporting period) can be explained by the good prices registered in 2017,” the NAEB report for November 2017 indicates. Global coffee prices hit a high of $5.41 per kilo in October, 2017 while the lowest price of $2.36 was recorded in March.
Meanwhile, the sector raked in $7.1 million in November 2017 from 2.25 million kilogrammes of coffee exported during the month, an increase from 1.86 million kilogrammes registered during the same period in 2016.
Coffee is Rwanda’s leading export crop and has contributed an average of 24 per cent to total agricultural exports over the last decade. The crop supports livelihoods of over 400,000 farmers countrywide.
NAEB targets to increase fully-washed coffee export volumes to over 50 per cent from 42 per cent in 2014 to make the sector more competitive and profitable.
It has been promoting value addition as well as encouraging farmers and co-operatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to enhance quality.
The agro-exports body is currently working with farmers to revamp the old coffee plantations and promote modern practices to help increase yields and quality. Rwanda’s specialty coffee has of recent attracted a lot of interest in Japan, the fourth-largest importer of coffee in the world.