By Elias HAKIZIMANA.
Rwandan Coffee exporters are thinking of taping into European markets despite existing challenges such as middlemen and shortage of demand.
Axel Ngarambe, quality control and marketing officer at Kivubelt Coffee in Nyamasheke District said that the current challenges they face are the middlemen who buy their produce at lower cost, but due to the two-day training by CBI’s Specialty Coffee Rwanda programme, he said his company will manage to tap into European Markets.
Their company grows coffee on 43 hectares and they have two coffee factories.
“We currently have few markets and one of the challenges we experience are the middlemen. Now we expect to sell the whole produce to the markets without the middlemen after attending this training. We will also diversify markets to Europe apart from our current market in America. It will be also an opportunity to market and brand our coffee at the international market,” Ngarambe said.
He said that they used to export 3,5 to 4 containers of 19,2 tons each.
“Last year we sold 2 containers in America and 1 container in Rwanda, we plan to expand our factories as we expect to have big produce and we also look to have more markets in Europe,” Ngarambe noted.
He said that reaching European markets is still difficult for people who do not have big volume of coffee exports, saying that Rwandan coffee is bought by people who know it for its quality.
“We sold it in Australia and European people bought it from Australia, it is better we take it to Europe and sell it on our preferable price without any other intermediary seller,” Ngarambe said.
Alex Uwizeye, the project coordinator of Agriprofocus, a Hollands organization that trains farmers and links them with markets said that around 40 people from local coffee processing companies will soon go to Holland to meet other coffee traders and supermarkets to tie partnership from November 25, 2019 until November 30, 2019.
“We will pay them flight ticket and hotels accommodation so that they go to learn and get linkage with European markets, we will do this in partnership with CBI, and they will benefit later from a trade fair that will take place in Poland in 2020 1to get opportunity of European markets,” Uwizeye said.
Agriprofocus creates a platform that helps local agriculture in scaling up the impacts of agriculture value chain.
Uwizeye said that they help coffee exporters to abide with minimum package standards so that they compete at European markets.
Until 2022, it is expected that Rwandan coffee companies and cooperatives will continue to go in European markets to gain skills and improve on the quality according to Uwizeye.
Cynthia Uwacu, Division Manager of Export Market Development and Innovation in National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) said that the 2-day training by CBI is very crucial as it will boost the needed skills for exporters to be able to sell at international markets.
“We focus on capacity building from farming level and understand market and buyers.After this training, there will be market orientation mission that will use the same people here on the actual market to learn from others. As NAEB, we are very happy to take part in this meeting,” she said.
She said that coffee companies and exporters still lack capacity building and investment in every point of the value chain.
“We still need to get to the point where we are more efficient and effective with the resources that we have,” she noted.
She thanks CBI for training coffee companies and cooperatives on proper way of doing things.
Participants to the workshop include Exporters, NAEB, sustainable growers, and more coffee companies.
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