Best coffee awarded as Cup of Excellence ends

Rwanda has, for the fifth time, awarded the best locally produced coffee, as this year’s edition of Cup of Excellence competition came to an end.
Minister Kalibata (R) awards members of CAFERWA Shangi who emerged overall winners of this year’s coffee Cup of Excellency yesterday.  Saturday Times/John Mbanda
Minister Kalibata (R) awards members of CAFERWA Shangi who emerged overall winners of this year’s coffee Cup of Excellency yesterday. Saturday Times/John Mbanda

Rwanda has, for the fifth time, awarded the best locally produced coffee, as this year’s edition of Cup of Excellence competition came to an end.

The competition is organised as part of efforts to encourage quality production, attract many clients from across the world and increase revenues from the sector.

The ceremony to award the best coffee was held yesterday in Huye District where 15 best local coffees out of 159 lots that entered the competition were awarded.

Gishugi Caferwa Coffee Washing Station, based in Shangi, Nyamasheke District, emerged the best of all lots  after scoring 91.09 per cent and was awarded the Presidential Award while NMC Mibilizi Coffee (Rusizi) and Gisuma Coffee (Rusizi) were first and second runners-up respectively.

Rwashosco Muganza Coffee (Huye district) and Rwashosco Maraba 3 Coffee, also in Huye, emerged fourth and fifth best coffees this year.

Huye District took the lion share of awards with six among the 15 awarded lots, becoming thus the best district in terms of the number of awards.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the Minister for Agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, reminded farmers that the coffee sector plays a vital role in the national economy and urged them to increase productivity.

Last year, coffee generated over $60 million, Kalibata said.

“Coffee is important for the whole country and, in particular, to the over 4,000 farmers who depend on it directly,” Kalibata said, as she encouraged quality, quantity and the increase in surfaces covered by coffee plantations.

Corneille Ntakirutimana, the acting director-general National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) said the competition is a marketing strategy for the local coffee on the international market.

After the award, Ntakirutimana said, the winning coffee will be sold to the highest bidder during an internet auction scheduled for October.

“The biggest proportion of the prices given during the auction goes directly to the farmers to boost their revenues and encourage them to keep producing high-quality coffees,” Ntakirutimana said.

Emmanuel Bazimaziki of Gishugi Caferwa Coffee Washing Station said the award gives him courage and determination to continue ensuring the highest standards in farming and processing coffee.

The farmer, who has spent over 40 years growing coffee, told Saturday Times it was the first time that his coffee participated in the Cup of Excellence competition.

“I am really excited by this achievement,” he said. “We have been struggling to maintain the highest standards for our coffee and our efforts have been rewarded.”

The awards seek to encourage all actors in the coffee production chain, including farmers and washing stations, to improve the quality of coffee so as to attract more buyers.

The Rwanda Cup of Excellence, the most esteemed international award given out for top quality coffees in the country, selects the very best coffee produced every year.

The winning coffees are chosen by a group of national and international cuppers and are cupped at least five different times during the competition process.

The Cup of Excellence contest is held annually in many coffee-producing countries, including Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Colombia and Uganda.

The inaugural Cup of Excellence competition in Rwanda was conducted in 2008.

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