KIGALI - The Rwanda 2011 Cup of Excellence live internet auction of specialty coffee is scheduled for Thursday this week, an official has announced.
The third internet auction of Rwandan coffee comes after the country held the third Cup of Excellence competition, in August, in Karongi district.
Robinah Uwera, an official in charge of international coffee marketing at the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB), told The New Times yesterday that the live internet auction will be for coffees that qualified for the Cup of Excellence.
“This year, 189 lots were collected to participate in the competition, among them, 132 qualified for the national jury and out of these, only 36 lots won the competition and they are the coffees that will participate in the internet auction,” she said.
The 36 lots were selected by an international jury.
“What makes these coffees so special is that their exemplary quality is very rare. These coffees are perfectly ripe, carefully picked with a well developed body, pleasant aroma and a lively sweetness that is only attained by high quality specialty coffees,” Uwera added.
According to the NAEB official, each winning coffee has its own flavour from the soil where it grows and all have been handcrafted in such a way as to enhance these unique characteristics.
Uwera also noted that the importance of the Cup of Excellence competitions is that the coffee farmer is not only given a prestigious award during the awards ceremony, but the majority of the record prices during auction go back to the producers who deserve and need it.
“In addition, the coffee farmer is recognized in the industry as being a quality coffee producer. A winning farm and its whole region can expect to receive future visits from coffee importers and roasters who are in need of quality coffee,” she said.
“The positive impact on the quality of life for a winning farmer and his family is permanent as the auction money will often be spent on farm improvement or family education which can change their economic livelihood for the long term, even if they do not win every year”.
Jeremie Iyakaremye, a coffee farmer from the Eastern Province, who participated in the recent competition for the first time, was buoyant.
“The competition, as I observed, was conducted in a fair manner. The result was really encouraging because many of us in the Eastern Province had never thought our coffee could be as good. We didn’t know we could get such a good position.”
Iyakaremye’s lot emerged 14th during the recent competition in Karongi and his expectations are now high.
Despite acknowledging little knowledge about the live internet auction, he says partaking in the competition was a big achievement – especially as he is now sharing knowledge with other farmers in his region.
Iyakaremye believes the competition and other events – such as the upcoming live internet auction benefit all coffee farmers.
“Previously, we had problems especially because of not knowing or having access to the market. This is really big for farmers in the Eastern Province,” Iyakaremye said.
According to Uwera, all the 36 winners will be duly informed and will attend the live auction.
During the August competition, the winning coffees were chosen by a select group of national and international cuppers and were cupped at least five different times.
Only coffees that always scored more than 80 percent progressed in the competition’s phases.