By Inspirer Staff.
Coffee still occupies an important share in Rwanda’s total exports, and despite some critics who argue the profits are low compared to the energy invested in farming, there are also many farmers who have considerably benefited from coffee farming throughout their lives.
Kanyenzi Zacharie is a coffee farmer living in Nyakarekare village, Nyakarekare cell, Mbuye Sector of Ruhango District in the Southern Province of Rwanda. He started coffee farming in the 1960s when he was a refugee in Uganda.
After returning to Rwanda, Kanyenzi continued his coffee farming starting with coffee nursery and later with the plantation. When the harvest increased, he had about 2,000 coffee trees which he said were cared for in close collaboration with the District’s Agronomists who helped him throughout the coffee farming process.
“With the coffee harvest I managed to raise my 10 children as well as to pay school fees for them.” He says. He added that in order to make sure that his children and family were living a decent life he had to increase the plantation space.
Despite many people criticizing the income generated from coffee farming, Kanyenzi confirms that as an outdated mindset: “At the beginning I managed to gain Rwf 2.5 million from coffee farming”.
After gaining such amount Kanyenzi decided to collaborate with other coffee farmers to establish a coffee washing station. He said that after realizing that there is a premium in selling unwashed coffee, he and other farmers established a coffee washing station which resulted into an increase benefit compared to previous periods.
According to statistics given by Kanyenzi, in 2015 he harvested 10 tons of coffee while in 2018 he managed to increase the harvest to 12 tons.
During harvesting season Kanyenzi employs 23 people while for daily activities Kanyenzi is able to pay three permanent staff.
Apart from some challenges that a coffee farmer can face such as pest attacks and seasonal changes, Kanyenzi says that coffee farming is all they [Him and his neighbors] need to live a good life.
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