RWANDA – The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB), a commercial institution of the government of Rwanda has pledged to support coffee growers with the necessary essentials in a bid to increase coffee production.

The reinforcement strategy will include provision of fertilizers and pesticides as well as reviving the collapsed cooperatives, according to New Times.

“We give to farmers any necessary support to improve the sector’s development, including fertilizers and pesticides.

We also provide capacity building initiatives and advocacy.

“We have turn-around programmes which are meant to uplift stagnant or collapsed cooperatives so that they can come back into the loop,” said Pie Ntwari, NAEB’s Communications Manager.

The move follows the recent partnership between the government of Rwanda and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that aims to strengthen Rwanda’s coffee value chain.

The CUP Rwanda project, implemented jointly by NAEB and JICA seeks to upgrade, promote coffee in Rwanda by increasing production, quality, processing, exports, and linkages to new markets.

According to NAEB’s June 2018 report, total coffee production from July 2017 increased by 19% attributed to good rain and fertiliser applied in the previous season.

The report indicated that coffee revenues realised from July 2017 to June 2018 were achieved at 99% of the target, influenced by good average prices compared to the previous year and increased export volumes by 10%.

This builds on a long-time partnership between NAEB and local coffee growers who are provided with technicalities for quality improvement.

NAEB had last year indicated it had started a new countrywide campaign to boost coffee production and consumption, as part of the 2017 Rwanda Coffee Day.

NAEB has been emphasising value addition and encouraging farmers and co-operatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to enhance quality.

Coffee is the premier export oriented crop of Rwanda and has contributed an average of 24% to total agricultural exports over the last decade.

The country’s coffee export revenues were at US$2.4 million during the first quarter, up from US$2.1 million in the same period in 2016.

The board is implementing a five-year strategic plan aimed at achieving an annual average export growth rate of 29%, translating to US$104.3 million by 2018, from US$60.9 million in 2013.