Rwanda has intensified marketing efforts aimed at helping the country’s coffee penetrate the European market.
Since May 15, Rwanda featured among over 100 coffee producers promoting specialties at the Amsterdam Coffee festival, Netherlands.
The festival that attracted more than 5000 visitors from across the world was organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in The Hague in collaboration with This Side Up (importer of coffee) and Sweet Cup (coffee roaster and retailer).
Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Rwanda’s envoy in Netherlands said the festival provided an invaluable experience to coffee connoisseurs, and, “key industry players and other interested parties to discover and enjoy specialty coffees from Rwanda.”
Rwanda’s coffee specialites sampled at the festival included; Coko, Iwacu and Rushashi.
Lennart Clerkx of This Side Up, known for direct marketing of Rwanda coffee said, “we held walk-cuppings and visitors to the booth were overloaded with everything they wanted to know about these coffees.”
He added that he responded to inquiries, “about starting and maintaining direct trade relationships with Rwandan coffee producers.”
Coffee is among Rwanda’s major cash crops, produced mainly for export. The landlocked hilly country has 70% of its 11 million people engaged in agriculture.
Rwanda has good coffee-growing conditions including; volcanic soils, plenty of sun and equatorial mist. Most of the coffee is grown at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level.
Coffee plants flower in September and October and cherries are harvested from March to July. Rwanda exports more than 3,698.6 tons of Coffee annually. Primarily to China, Germany and US.
The country has launched a coffee census nationwide to generate database needed for sustainable strategic planning in the coffee sector.
“We want to know coffee farmers’ information that may help us on polishing policies and other related planning processes like distribution of farm inputs,” Amb George William Kayonga the CEO of Rwanda’s Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) said.
The 2009 census showed that there were 27,000 hectares of coffee plantations with 72 million trees. The current census’ (May 13-23) results are expected in October this year.
According to NAEB, last year, Rwanda’s green coffee production was at 16,380 metric tonnes, generating over $59.6 million.
Rwanda targets to have 26,000 metric tonnes of green coffee to generate $76 million this year.