Rwanda: Why Rwanda's Weekly Coffee Export Revenues Dropped

Rwanda's weekly coffee export revenues dropped by 672 per cent in the week ending April 11, after prices on the world markets plunged.

The performance, which reflects a more than six-fold drop, is also attributed to quality exports as well as reduced quantities.

According to the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), last week Rwanda exported 115,200 kilogrammes of coffee which generated $198,720 (about Rwf192 million).

In the previous week, statistics show, the country had exported 366,780 kilogrammes of coffee, fetching $1,336,935 (about Rwf1.3 billion).

During the period under review, the average coffee price reduced from $3.64 per kilogramme to $1.7 a kilogramme.

Main export destinations in the two weeks under review included Russia, China, Germany and Canada, South Africa, The Netherlands and the United States.

NAEB Communication Specialist, Pie Ntwari, said that most of the coffee that was traded on the international market was in the last grade category, especially because Rwanda is off-coffee season and the stock from last year's harvest was almost empty.

As a result, he indicated, low-grade coffee accounted for 83.3 per cent of the cash crop's exports, while fully washed coffee accounted for 16.6 per cent.

"Most coffees were traded at a low price," he said, indicating that the next coffee harvesting season will start mid-May this year.

And this is when improved exports are expected.

Meanwhile, overall, the country's coffee exports generated over $60.4 million in the fiscal year 2019/2020, a decrease of about 12 per cent compared to $68.7 million in 2018/2019.

That drop was a result of coffee export volume that reduced by 9 per cent to over 19.7 million kilogrammes in 2019/2020 from over 21.6 million kilogrammes in 2018/2019, and a 3.7 per cent decrease in average coffee price from $3.18 a kilogramme in 2018/2019 to $3.06 in 2019/2020.

Rwanda targets to export 31,000 tonnes of coffee and generate $95 million in revenues by 2024, according to projections by NAEB.

Last year, NAEB embarked on replacing over three million old coffee trees in the country in a bid to increase crop productivity and fetch more foreign exchange revenue from one of the country's major traditional cash crops.


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