EU to unlock potential of Rwanda’s coffee value chain with US$2.3m funding

RWANDA – The European Union is seeking to support Rwanda’s coffee sector by providing €2 million (US$2.3 million) to Technoserve Inc, an American organisation under the framework of the Rwanda Ikawa Nziza Cyane project (RW INC).

The EU support is aimed to unlock the country’s coffee value chain by improving performance of farmers, cooperatives, farmer organisations, private companies, financial institutions and public and private institutions to deliver high-quality, inclusive and sustainable coffee.

“We are proudly supporting coffee sector in Rwanda; a leading export crop that contributes around 24 per cent to total agricultural exports.

“Thanks to this funding, by 2025, farmers’ income will increase by 15% and the yield by 10%”, said Ambassador Nicola Bellomo, Head of the EU Delegation to Rwanda. 

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RW INC is targeting to reach out to 50,000 smallholder farmers, which represents 13% of the total coffee growers in Rwanda, 50 coffee washing stations and 5 coffee exporters, exporting around 50% of the total coffee production.

 “In close collaboration with different stakeholders, in synergizing with other ongoing initiatives in coffee sector and Technoserve Inc. experience of more than 13 years in Rwanda’s coffee sector, we are confident that the project will increase coffee farmers’ income through enhancing coffee yield, improving quality and value chain governance,” Ben Bizinde, Technoserve Inc. Country Programme Manager said.

The project is in line with Team Europe Initiative regarding “Investing in sustainable and inclusive agricultural transformation”.

It will embrace the climate resilient productive infrastructures through promoting postharvest technologies in coffee sector and will support safe and high-quality products access to local, regional and international market.

“Thanks to this funding, by 2025, farmers’ income will increase by 15% and the yield by 10%.”

Ambassador Nicola Bellomo – Head of the EU Delegation to Rwanda

The RW INC project will coordinate closely with the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade programme (EU-EAC MARKUP), a EUR 35 million (US$41.65 million) regional initiative, covering five East African Countries (EAC), that aims at increasing export of coffee and horticultural products, promoting regional integration and access to higher value market.

Rwanda earned US$60.4 million from green coffee exports in the fiscal year 2019/2020, a 11% drop from the previous year’s earnings of US$68 million, attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the demand for the commodity.

According to National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), the country exported 19,723 tonnes of coffee during the period under-review, a decline of 6%.

The coffee export performance of the financial year which ended in June 2020 is short of the country’s target to generate US$80 million from exporting 26,000 tonnes.

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Meanwhile, the country targets production of 31,000 tonnes of green coffee to fetch US$95 million in revenues by 2024, according to projections by NAEB.

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