HUYE – Strategies to improve coffee production in the country are on track, a report has revealed.
This was contained in a report compiled by the peer evaluation team composed of districts’ and Provincial officials released this Tuesday March 11. The report indicates that districts have put in place mechanisms to ensure improved yields of coffee this season.
“We found out that majority of the farmers are well conversant with modern ways of growing coffee though more effort is needed,” said Vercounda Twagiramungu an official of Rwanda Coffee Regulatory Body, Ocir Café.
“More coffee washing stations need to be established in districts like Nyaruguru. Private entrepreneurs need to be brought on board if the coffee business is to improve in the Province,” added the official, also a member of the peer evaluation team that carried out the assessment.
The peer coffee evaluation, an initiative of the Province was intended to provide a learning experience to leaders from the different districts. They not only awarded marks but also shared best practices in the coffee sector.
According to the report, the districts of Huye, Kamonyi, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru posted impressive results, followed by Ruhango, Muhanga, Gisagara and Nyanza respectively.
According to Ildefonse Gasana, the Huye vice mayor in charge of economic affairs, the marks would not provide a comprehensive picture, but serve to expose areas which need attention, on the best way to achieve set targets in the coffee sector.
“We held discussions with leaders of districts where we felt that a lot was lacking. Indeed, some of our recommendations are already being implemented in districts like Nyaruguru,” he said.
The Ocir Café has set 600 as the minimum number of coffee trees to be planted by anyone regarded as a coffee farmer. The coffee authority envisages a harvest of at least seven kilograms from a single coffee tree.
Members of the peer evaluation team, called for stepped up mobilisation campaign; to equip farmers with the basic knowledge needed to improve coffee production. The group recommended the use of manure and the planting of trees that provide shade to coffee trees during dry spell.
Ocir Café was asked to find ways of constructing coffee washing stations in areas that have been shunned by private entrepreneurs; because of the high costs involved.
The amount of coffee produced in Rwanda has been falling over the last five years, a trend that can only be reversed with a clearly laid down coffee policy in the country. Peer evaluation is seen as a strategy to this effect.
In 2007, Rwanda exported over 14, 000 tones of green coffee (Café vert). Production is expected to improve this season.