National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) estimates show that Rwanda’s coffee exports has increased by 5.45 per cent even as coffee prices declined
NAEB figures show that coffee exports have risen to 7.6mn kg in the first half 2016 up from 7.1mn kg same period 2015. Coffee sold from January to July 2016 is estimated to be 7,580,795 kg, which is much higher than 7,189,795 kg sold in 2015, reflecting a 5.45 per cent increment.
However, the increase in exports was accompanied by an almost 12.7 per cent fall in international coffee prices. As a result, farmers in Rwanda have not benefited from the rise in exports.
According to the NAEB report, revenues realised from January to July 2016 stood at only US$20,250,716 compared to US$23.1mn or the same period in 2015.
In July alone, revenues dropped by almost 26.9 per cent to US$4.4mn compared to US$6,053,149 in the same period 2015.
The NAEB stated that it has taken measures to ensure increased production through good agronomical practices, including embracing coffee washing stations and fertiliser application, among other initiatives.
The export body has been emphasising value addition and encouraging farmers and cooperatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to boost the quality of coffee exports, a press statement indicated.
More importantly, NAEB recently unveiled a five-year strategic plan aimed at increasing coffee exports. The strategic plan seeks to increase coffee exports to an annual average growth rate of 29 per cent to achieve annual export receipts of more than US$104,300,000 by 2018, from US$60,887,640 in 2013. The strategic plan is to increase productivity and value addition along the value chain to make the country's coffee industry more competitive and beneficial to farmers.
The idea, according to NAEB, is to increase productivity from 2.4kg per coffee tree in 2013 to 3.1kg per tree by 2018.