RWANDA – Rwanda will be hosting the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition, an annual event hosted in rotation in Africa’s coffee producing countries, from 12-15 February 2019.

The conference is aimed at deliberating on intervention to the challenges facing the continents coffee sector as well as explore the opportunities presented by the commodity.

According to Dr Celestin Gatarayiha, the Head of Coffee Production and Processing Division at National Agricultural Export Development Board in Rwanda, the conference presents an opportunity to stakeholders in the coffee sector will to promote the industry, reports New Times.

“Our producers will meet with buyers. It is an opportunity to have it here, because when it is held outside Rwanda, it is very expensive for our producers to go there.

But now, many farmers, cooperatives, exporters will be able to meet with buyers for the promotion of their coffee as well as marketing,” said Dr Celestin.

According to Dr Celestin, Rwanda coffee sector has recorded significant growth in which has been reflected by the 58% growth of speciality coffee within a 15 year period.

“…we target by 2024 to have at least 80 per cent of our coffee being fully washed coffee (from which specialty coffee comes),” he added.

Additionally, he said that the conference will also reinforce the country’s efforts to increase domestic coffee consumption, which currently stands at about 3%, and subsequently limit imports of the commodity resulting into improved trade balance.

As of 2018, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa were the major importing countries for Rwandan coffee at 8% 2% and 1% respectively.

On the other hand, Switzerland was the highest importer at 37%, while US and the European market imported 24% and 10% respectively.

According to Dr Celestin, Rwanda also exported 9% to Singapore, 5% to Belgium with Australia, Japan and Malta each contributing to 1% of the country’s export in 2018.

Rwanda’s 2018 total export stood at 24,000 metric tonnes which generated about US$67 million which according to Dr Celestin, the country targets about US$75 million from coffee exports this year.

Ethiopia is the continents leading coffee producer, followed by Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Rwanda also trades its coffee at the world’s e-commerce platform, Alibaba, following the Electronic World Trade Platform deal between the company and the Government.