The president of Coffee Exporters and Processors Association of Rwanda (CEPAR), Pierre Munyura Kamere , has said that the country has the potential to increase its coffee exports.
Kamere noted that more foreign exchange earnings from coffee is a key ingredient in achieving sustainable development.
He disclosed that the Association was formed in 2010 to increase coffee production which is being implemented through the establishment of the fertiliser fund.
One of the key challenges faced by coffee processors and exporters is unstable international market. Fluctuation of prices affects sales and farmers’ and exporters’ plans as well.One of CEPAR’s objectives is to promote and market coffee products in the country and beyond and it already exports almost 75 per cent of Rwanda’s coffee. The 20 members of the association buy and distribute fertilizers to farmers so that they can increase the coffee productivity in the country.
“Although we have done a lot in promoting our coffee, there is need to do more to compete favourably on the international market,” Munyura said.
Munyura noted that the first achievement of CEPAR is advocacy since it’s now a recognized entity by both the government and the Private Sector Federation (PSF).
Another achievement is the establishment of the fertilizer fund. Before it was set up, NAEB was responsible for buying and distributing fertilizers. This was quite challenging as farmers could fail to pay on time.
There were also delays in purchasing fertilizers due to bureaucracy in government institutions. When CEPAR took over the buying last August, the association was able to purchase 2500 metric tons of fertilizers. These were distributed among all coffee farmers and applied across the country in just one month.
“Rwanda is generally growing economically and socially. However, rural areas are not growing at the same pace as the urban areas; the coffee sector is one of the factors which will promote a balanced growth,” he said.
Statistics in Kenya indicate that each coffee tree can produce two kilograms of washed coffee compared to 0.5 and 0.7 per cent in Rwanda. Munyura says this shows that there is still great potential to increase coffee production in the country.
However, in the EAC region, Rwanda sells more coffee on the international market after Kenya.