Following the fall in the farmgate price of coffee in Rwanda from Rwf 267 per kilogramme in 2018 to Rwf 190 this season, coffee farmers have asked the government to put in measures to help contain market instabilities. The new price was announced last week by the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).
The President of Rwanda Coffee Cooperatives’ Federation (RCCF), Theopiste Nyiramahoro told The New Times that the farmers were left with no other choice and will have to accept what the market offers them. “The price is not good, but because there is no other alternative, we accept that as we don’t have anywhere to sell it,” she said, adding that the new price will reduce farmers’ profits.
Also during the NAEB event, Celestin Gatarayiha, the Coffee Division Manager mentioned that the recent fall in prices was as a result of the fall in the international market, stating that if this happened to change, the farmgate price may change as well. According to him, it fell from $3.3 per kilogramme in 2018 to $2.2 per kilogramme in 2019.
In recent times, Rwanda has been making efforts to grow its coffee industry. The East African country recently hosted the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition, an annual forum hosted by Africa’s coffee producing countries. The event which lasted from February 13-15 2019 discussed solutions to the challenges facing the industry and how opportunities for the continent’s coffee can be explored.
Last year coffee produced by Ngororero Coffee Washing Station in the Western Province scooped two international awards; “Best of the Best” and “Coffee Lover’s Choice” in a competition that attracted brands from nine countries around the world. Rwandan coffee also started trading on the world’s largest e-commerce platform, Alibaba, owing to the Electronic World Trade Platform deal signed between the company and the Rwandan government.
However, small coffee farmers in Africa are not as happy as other players along the value chain because they are getting a modest share of revenues, experts in the industry have agreed. This, they say, only spells negative consequences to the sector, if it remains unchecked.