RWAMAGANA - After a protracted period of overlooking coffee farming due to prices, farmers in Rwamagana District have now embarked on large-scale growing of Arabica coffee.
This follows the increase in the prices of coffee, last season, from Rwf120 to Rwf 300 per kilogramme.
Nehemie Uwimana, the Mayor of Rwamagana District told The New Times that farmers were keen to enhance the quality of their coffee before sale.
The Mayor made the remarks while addressing hundreds of farmers, who planted over 167,000 coffee seedlings in Karenge this week.
“We are set for full scale coffee growing... We ended situations where some farmers dried their coffee on the ground which compromised the quality of the coffee,” Uwimana observed.
The Mayor noted that farmers in the district were embracing coffee as one of their main sources of income.
“Coffee prices have been getting high...we expect our farmers to benefit. We must remember that coffee has always been Rwanda's most important cash crop and largest export commodity”.
A prominent coffee farmer in the district, Everest Mutibagirana, said that his livelihood had changed since he started growing coffee.
He, however, observed that coffee farming was not an easy exercise, noting that few farmers embarked on coffee farming, until the prices more than doubled.
“Coffee is very profitable...I grow bananas too, but the difference is huge.The problem is that you have to wait for at least three years to start selling. So, farmers opt for other quickly rewarding crops,” he said.
Gertrude Mujawimana, another coffee grower said that small scale farmers had set out on growing the cash crop.
She observed that unless farmer embarks on growing cash crops, they would remain poor.
“I, for instance, relied on producing food crops...but I have realised the need to grow cash crop. We have seen our neighbours make great fortune out of coffee, so why not us,” she said.