RWANDA – 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.
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.
“The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted coffee sales such that either a coffee buyer no longer bought it because of the adverse impact of Covid-19 on their business, or they buy it in small quantity as a result.”Managing Director of Rwanda Small Holder Specialty Coffee Company – Angelique Karekezi
Angelique Karekezi, Managing Director of Rwanda Small Holder Specialty Coffee Company in an interview with New Times Rwanda, highlighted that coffee production also went down because of seasonal changes.
However, the quantity of coffee supplied to the market decreased because of the Covid-19 pandemic that limited coffee sales and the country has unsold stock which it hopes to sale by the end of the year.
“The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted coffee sales such that either a coffee buyer no longer bought it because of the adverse impact of Covid-19 on their business, or they buy it in small quantity as a result,” she said, pointing out that such a situation influences a decline in the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
“We still have some unsold coffee in our store because of the market issue. We were pushing to see that they can buy at the end of the year, but most of them have been placed under lockdown again,” she added.
The large export destinations for Rwanda’s coffee include countries in Europe, America, and Asia.
World coffee exports in the first 11 months of Coffee Year 2019/20 (Oct 2019 to August 2020) have decreased by 5.6% to 116.54 million bags compared to 123.44 million bags in the same period in 2018/19.
Global coffee production for 2019/20 is estimated at 169.34 million bags versus consumption of 167.81 million bags.
Tea export earnings rise by 12%
Meanwhile, earning from the other leading export commodity from Rwanda, Tea, rose by 12% generating more than US$93 million in the fiscal year 2019/2020.
In terms of quantity, volumes exports increased by 7 percent from 30,500 tonnes in 2018/2019 to more than 32,600 tonnes.
The increase in both value and quantity is attributed to relatively good prices at the international market as well as increased production.
The revenue increase also signifies a rebound in Rwanda’s tea exports in the financial year that ended in June 2020 as revenues had decreased by 5 per cent from US$88 million in 2017/2018 to US$83 million in 2018/2019, despite a 10 per cent rise in tea export volumes.
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