Third of specialty coffee grown in Africa comes from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda

About five million bags of coffee grown in Africa – or nearly third of the total produce – is specialty coffee mainly from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda

Producing specialty coffee is one of the means through which African countries can guarantee improved revenues from produce as consumers on the international market are willing to pay higher prices for quality.

This was one of the views fronted by some experts on Wednesday at the ongoing 17th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition in Kigali.

The function is running under the theme; Specialty Coffees from the Heart of Africa.

Specialty coffee, according to José Dauster Sette, the Executive Director of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), is coffee that has received extra care in its selection of the best beans, in the way it is grown, as well as how it is brewed and served to create distinction.

“All of these factors are involved in the specialty coffee market that is currently booming in many countries across the world,” he said.

About 1,500 participants from 32 countries are taking part in the event, and they include coffee producers, exporters, roasters, policymakers and buyers from around Africa, the Americas, Europe, among other parts of the world.

Sette said that the annual coffee produced in the world is estimated at 162 million bags of 60 kilogrammes each. Africa accounts for around 12 per cent of that global production, he said.

About five million bags of coffee grown in Africa – or nearly third of the total produce – is specialty coffee mainly from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda

“As we all know, the history of coffee is one of ‘price boom and burst’ in which the former almost invariably ushers in the latter. The current market situation is no exception: coffee prices have been experiencing a downward trend over the last two and a half years,” Sette said.

De-commoditising coffee—adding value to it—he says, as well as penetrating into the specialty coffee market is one of the key strategies to increase the value of the African coffee.

According to National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB), the price of specialty coffee is higher than that of basic coffee. On average, the former is sold at between $4 and $5 against the latter’s $2 or $3 a kilogramme.

Vincent Karenzi, Production Manager at Rwanda Trading Company (RTC), said that countries like Rwanda, which produce small quantities of coffee compared to big producers like Brazil and Colombia, can generate more revenues by offering quality coffee.

“Quality is the main factor in the coffee market. That is why we put more efforts in specialty coffee so that we have better quality which makes a difference to the buyer such that once they cup our coffee, they will realise that we have made more efforts in preparing it,” he said.

Celestin Gatarayiha, the Coffee Division Manager at NAEB, said that specialty coffee accounts for about 60 per cent of Rwanda’s total coffee produce.

Rwanda exported 23,000 tonnes of coffee in the financial year 2017/2018, generating $67 million, and it is targeting to generate $75 million through exporting 24,500 tonnes of in the current fiscal year.   

“We want to enhance the quality of coffee and its value,” Gatarayiha said.

Source: The New Times



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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,( is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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