The New Times (Kigali)

8 August 2014

Rwanda's Top Coffees to Be Celebrated Today

Thirty coffee farmers will tussle it out for the Rwanda Cup of Excellence top prize today during the finals of sector's premier competition finals.

George Kayonga, the National Agricultural Exports Board (Naeb) boss, said this year's competition has seen an 8 per cent increase in participation compared to 2013.

Over 170 lots were submitted during the pre-selection phase compared to 169 last year, he added.

The Cup of Excellence competition seeks to promote the quality of the country's coffees and best practices. The awards ceremony will be held in Musaza Sector, Kirehe District.

The best coffees selected at the competition are sold through an Internet auction at a later date.

Last year, Rwanda sold 47 per cent of 2013 participating coffees to Japan, with Europe and Australia taking 20 per cent each, while South Korea bought 13 per cent of the coffees.

Kayonga said, of the 180 lots submitted for the competitions at various levels, 56.6 per cent were from the Western Province, Southern Province 24.4 per cent, 13 per cent from Northern Province, while the Eastern Province contributed 7.5 per cent.

The competition is organised by Naeb with support from Alliance of Coffee Excellence; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Development Bank of Rwanda; Starbucks and I&M Bank.

Kayonga said a team of local and international jurors, from Asia, Europe, the US, Latin America and Australia will adjudicate the competition.

The Rwanda Cup of Excellence Award recognises top quality coffees that are produced following strict standards, protocols and rules.

Increasing productivity

Meanwhile, Naeb is set to increase its field schools, from 300 to 800 as part of the drive to boost coffee production and quality, said Ndambe Nzaramba, the Naeb deputy director general in charge of export and market operations.

Nzaramba added that efforts were ongoing to secure new markets for Rwanda's coffee.

Pierre Kamere Munyura, president of the Coffee Exporters and Processors Association of Rwanda, said promoting coffee processing could greatly enhance exports.

Munyura, also the managing director of Mibirizi Coffee and Foodstuff, argued that increasing volumes alone cannot produce the required results.

Naeb is looking to increase annual coffee production turnover to more than 25,000 tonnes.

Coffee accounts for between 12 and 17 per cent of the country's total exports.

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