The Rwanda Coffee Development Board (Ocir-café) is planning to increase the local coffee consumption in a bid to generate its expected revenues of about $60m (Rwf32.8 billion) this year. The revenues are projected from about 28,000 tonnes of coffee.
Alex Kanyankole, the Director General of Ocir-café disclosed recently at a press conference that the country’s local consumption is very low.
He did not give estimates of how much coffee is consumed by locals, however unconfirmed sources say that Rwandans consume about five percent of their home-made coffee.
This means that about 95 percent of the country’s coffee produced is exported to the international market.
In a breakdown, Europe takes the lion share of Rwanda’s coffee consumption with 45 percent, US comes next with 30 percent and the balance of about 25 percent is consumed by Asia and Africa.
Kanyankole attributed the low consumption to the misconception surrounding the country’s leading cash crop.
He said, “Many people believe that drinking coffee only causes health problems, which perception affects their consumption decision.”
“This will be addressed by sensitising the public about the advantages of drinking coffee with the recommended quantities, in cases of health problems,” he added.
Medical practitioners say coffee may counteract alcohol’s poisonous effects on the liver and help prevent cirrhosis. It is also said to be one of the most popular beverage, being appreciated by millions of people all around the world.
Kanyankole also attributed the low consumption to the packaging of coffee in large packs imported and expensive, explaining that this makes local unable to procure small packages depending on their income for breakfast.
Ocir-cafe therefore plans to restructure the packaging material to avail small cheap sachets for quick buying at breakfast time like it is done with tea.
The Ocir-cafe Director General also revealed that there are plans to attract investors to venture into coffee shops countrywide.
Adding, “This will boost its consumption at all times as people seek for entertainment away from their homes.” He said that these shops also provide a variety of coffee flavours thus giving customers a choice.
Currently, there are a few coffee shops in Rwanda which are mainly concentrated in Kigali and other big towns like Butare. Some of the coffee shops in the city include, Blue cafe, Bourbon cafe and Simba Supermarket cafe.