Rwanda’s foreign exchange earnings from tea and coffee rose by 8.9 per cent and 34 per cent respectively in 2011, the sectors regulator, National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) said.
According to the Head of Coffee Division at NAEB, Celestin M. Gatarayiha, coffee revenues obtained last year, 2011, were US$75m and 34 per cent higher (US$56m) than those generated in 2010.
“The 2011 NAEB’s targets for coffee revenues were exceeded by 3 per cent. These are the highest revenues obtained in the coffee exports in the Rwanda,” Gatarayiha noted.
He added that this was due to favourable prices on the international market and most importantly the high demand for the country’s high quality output.
However, green coffee production fell to 16,000 Metric Tonnes, down from 19,000 Metric Tonnes in 2010.
The 15 per cent difference in production between the two periods was expected and can be explained by the natural cyclical production of Arabica coffee (Global empirical evidence).
The year 2010 was considered the high cycle where production was expected to be higher compared to 2011.
“Similarly, we are expecting to have high production this year (2012) and NAEB’s projections are 24,000 Metric Tonnes with at least 33 per cent being fully washed coffee,” Gatarayiha noted.
He added that farm gate price for cherries in 2011 was fixed by the former OCIR-Café at Rwf165/kg but the price at which farmers sold their cherries varied from Rwf250 to Rwf350.
“In 2010, the farm gate price was Rwf120 per Kg of cherries. For this coming season, the farm gate price will soon be determined but not yet known,” Gatarayiha explained.
NAEB has projected coffee revenues to surge to US$157m by 2017.
“This will be reached by increasing the production expected to be 34,000 Metric Tonnes of green coffee by that year and by improving the quality of our coffee,” he explained.
Gatarayiha further noted that of the 34,000 Metric Tonnes, 70 per cent is expected to be fully washed coffee.
According to NAEB statistics, tea revenues for 2011 increased by 8.9 per cent to US$61m up from US$56m the previous year collected from 24,000 tonnes.
NAEB’s Deputy Director General for Export and Market Operations, Ndambe Nzaramba, observed that last year’s increase in revenues is attributed to the enlargement of tea plantations in Karongi and Rubavu districts.
“This year, we are projecting 26,000 in tea volumes and US$69 million in total revenues,” he explained.
Green leaf production in 2011 reached 92,403,377 per kgs while farm gate price currently stands at Rwf105 per kg.