By Elias Hakizimana
Hosting Africa Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition will generate up to $4 million (about Rwf3.5 billion) to Rwanda’s economy, according to an official at African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), which is co-organising the event with the National Agriculture Exports Development Board (NAEB).
By trying to figure out what this amount of money can do in line with improving people’s lives, it turns out that it can buy about 7,000 cows of productive breed, with each costing Rwf500,000.
When such cows are distributed among say, 7,000 economically vulnerable families, with each getting a cow, they can help improve their livelihoods through milk consumption for improved nutrition, and income from milk sales.
The money can also buy thousands of chickens, or gets to offer to need families to serve as a source of their livelihoods.
The official made the revelation on the funds that Rwanda can generate from the coffee function on Friday August 10, 2018 in Kigali during the official launch of the 17th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition with the theme: “Rwanda-Specialty Coffee at the Heart of Africa,”
The event is due to take place in Kigali, in February 2019.
About 2,000 people are expected to attend this event, including coffee producers, exporters, roasters, policymakers, and buyers from around Africa, the Americas, Europe, among other parts of the world.
Coffee is an important crop for Rwanda as it accounts for about 45% of all its agricultural export revenues, in addition to being a source of livelihoods for about 400,000 Farmers, according to information from the National Agriculture Exports Development Board (NAEB), which also states that producing specialty coffee or standard and quality coffee is the government’s priority.
Ishak K.Lukenge, Chairman of African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) said that there is no doubt that Rwanda can get up to $4 million from organizing the conference that will be as the result of not only the cost of coffee, but also the tourism interests as the conference will be connecting Rwandans with African producers and exporters at large to the international coffee markets.
Lukenge said that this emphasizes that the conference and exhibition will facilitate coffee producers as it will establish close relationship and give an opportunity to share knowledge on how to improve quality of Rwandan coffee.
The conference will also be the opportunity for coffee baristas as they will be given special trainings towards expanding markets.
Encouraging domestic consumption
The Africa Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition will be a good occasion to encourage local coffee consumption through a deliberate consistent policy according to John William Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer of NAEB. “We have to increase domestic consumption of coffee, that is of one of the sustainable ways we can continue to promote the importance of coffee,” said Kayonga.
Rwanda produces between 18,000 and 23,000 tonnes of coffee, of which 96 percent is exported.
Samuel N.Kamau, Executive Director of AFCA said that they need to create coffee brand by telling own stories. “We need to tell our own story, the stories of our community that grows coffee, from farmers to coffee washing stations, that is why we bring this conference,” said Kamau.
Speaking during the official launch, Jean Claude Kayisinga, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said that through the conference and exhibition farmers will meet with buyers who need diversified coffees, and will be linked with highest markets that look on high quality coffee.
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