EAFCA is an association of coffee producers, processors, marketing people and organisations from 11 Eastern and Southern African countries
The 6th East African Fine Coffees Association(EAFCA) Conference and Exhibition has opened at the Kigali Serena hotel, attracting over 20 participating countries from all over the world.
The three day forum that also attracted another 500 global coffee connoisseurs, is aimed at promoting and marketing the cash crop. About 52 companies dealing in coffee from all over the world are also exhibiting.
The event was graced by the Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, who represented President Paul Kagame. At the opening of the conference, Makuza stressed that the government is optimistic that the function will be significant in developing the coffee sector in Rwanda and the region in general.
“It is an excellent opportunity to transfer knowledge and new technology into developing the coffee sector. This has proven fundamental to economic development. Rwanda produces about 25,000 tonnes of coffee, which contribute close to 20 percent of the country’s foreign exchange revenue,” he explained.
Makuza continued that despite the developments in the sector, there are challenges that need to be tackled.
Citing a challenge of low local coffee consumption in Rwanda and the region, Makuza said that there is need to increase consumption to serve as an alternative market during times of the global financial crisis.
According to the Premier, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda consume about 1 percent of their locally grown coffee.
Tanzania and Kenya consume about 2 percent, whereas Ethiopia, another EAFCA member consumes about 50 percent.
Makuza therefore requested coffee stakeholders to look beyond in search for market while also increasing coffee consumption locally.
The hosting of the event is considered as one of the initiatives Rwanda will use to strength its marketing tools and expand its international market, as it strives to earn about this year. Some of the topics to be discussed by participates include, and value addition, consumption challenges and opportunities.
EAFCA is an association of coffee producers, processors, marketing people and organisations from 11 Eastern and Southern African countries.
They include Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Other dignitaries present at the forum included, the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) President, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary General, US Ambassador to Rwanda and Rwanda’s State Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources.