Rwanda fetches Rwf150m from online coffee auction

Over Rwf149m has been earned from an Internet-based auction of 11 tonnes of Rwandan specialty coffees. The Tuesday auction raised a total of $225,970 (Rwf149.4m). 
A farmer spreads red coffee cherries on a tarpaulin to dry. The New Times/File
A farmer spreads red coffee cherries on a tarpaulin to dry. The New Times/File

Over Rwf149m has been earned from an Internet-based auction of 11 tonnes of Rwandan specialty coffees. The Tuesday auction raised a total of $225,970 (Rwf149.4m). 

A kilogramme of the specialty coffee was sold at an average of $21.08 (Rwf13,936), according to Eric Ruganintwali, the co-ordinator of the Rwanda Cup of Excellence and head of quality assurance department at the National Agriculture Export Board.

He noted that only coffees, which won accolades during the August Cup of Excellence competition were sold to the highest bidders.

“The biggest proportion of the money raised during the auction will go directly to the farmers to boost their revenues and encourage them to continue producing high quality coffees,” Ruganintwali said.

Prior to the event, farmers expected to fetch prices, ranging from $3 and $6 per kilogramme for their specialty coffees. However, they were in for a surprise as the coffees fetched far much more (over $20 a kilo).

“The auction seeks to encourage all actors in the coffee production value chain, including farmers and washing stations, to improve the coffee quality and attract more buyers,” Ruganintwali said.

Emmanuel Bazimaziki of Gishugi Caferwa Coffee Washing Station said the auction gave him morale and determination to continue ensuring high standards of farming and coffee processing. Fifteen coffee washing stations participated in the auction. 

The auction’s highest bid was $45.86 per kilogramme for 23 boxes worth $32,219. 

At $34.28 a kilo, Venuste Niyibizi of N.C.MC Mibirizi Coffee Washing Station was second, selling 28 boxes worth $28,954.

Fifteen producers of  best locally-made coffees were crowned at the August Rwanda Cup of Excellence grand finale, out of the 159 contenders who participated in the competition.

The Rwanda Cup of Excellence, the most esteemed international award given to top quality coffees in the country, selects the very best coffees 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. 

Tuesday’s Internet auction attracted buyers from around the world, with Japan topping the list of deals closed.

Rwanda targets to generate $157m from coffee exports by 2017 compared to $87m expected  to be earned from a projected 24,000 tonnes of the beans this year.