Coffee farmers learn from Rwandan counterparts

A TEAM of farmers from Kagera region recently completed a study tour of neighbouring Rwanda, aimed at learning modern coffee production and marketing strategies.

Kagera Cooperative Union (KCU 1990 Ltd) Chairman, Mr Ressy Mashulano, told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview that the study tour enabled farmers to get first hand information from their Rwandan counterparts who are more advanced in coffee production and marketing strategies.

“A team of farmers from Kagera region, comprising of KCU Board members and management visited Rwanda to learn and share experiences from Rwandan farmers who are more advanced in coffee production and marketing strategies,” Mr Mashulano said.

He explained that during 2021/2022 season Rwandan farmers produced a total of 19,467 kilogrammes of coffee that was exported and fetched 85,058,000 US dollars, equivalent to 200m/-.

Tanzania, on the other hand, produced a total of 73,027 kilogrammes of coffee, which fetched 171,526,000 US dollars equivalent to 403m/- at the international market.

“Comparatively, Rwanda produced and exported less coffee compared to Tanzania. However, due to high coffee quality, a kilogramme of Rwandan washed coffee fetched 4.37 US dollars compared to 2.35 US dollars paid for Tanzanian coffee,” he said.

Elaborating, he said Rwanda is famous for producing ‘Washed Arabica’ coffee, which is more attractive to coffee buyers.  Rwanda stands at 19th position among 30 top coffee producing countries in the world.

He explained that KCU had allocated 250m/- in 2023/2024 season for establishing a ‘Coffee Washing Station’, with several coffee washing machines on a pilot project.

Mr Mashulano said the Union was encouraging the farmers to turn to organic coffee farming in order to fetch higher prices at the international markets compared to conventional coffee.

“We are encouraging farmers to turn to organic coffee farming with aim of fetching higher prices at the international markets compared to conventional coffee,” he said.

He listed 34 Agricultural and Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) registered under Organic Coffee system to include Kachwezi, Biirabo, Ihunga, Ibuga, Ngenge, Rushwa, Katanga, Ihangiro, Bujumba, Izigo, Mbatama, Nshamba, Rwanda, Kabare, Bugambakamoi, Gwanseli, Kabutaigi, Kibanga and Kihwela, all in Muleba District.

Others are Mweyanjale, Ibwera, Buhendangabo, Bujugo, Katoro, Buzi, Kanyangereko, Nyakibimbiri, Ibosa and Kasharu, in  Bukoba DC.

Bugandika, Kitobo, Kigarama,  Bukwali and Kyazi, in Missenyi District.

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