Rwanda, JICA ink 5-year agreement to strengthen coffee value chain

RWANDA – The government of Rwanda, in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), have launched the second phase of the coffee cooperation project.

The five-year agreement was signed by the Japanese government’s developmental organization, JICA, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB) and Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).

It aims to strengthen the coffee value chain and promote technical cooperation projects, sustaining the achievements of the first phase which was launched in May 2017.

Focus of the initiative is to enhance the capacity of key stakeholders along a coffee value chain to sustainably improve the quality of coffee, enabling them compete on high-end international coffee markets, including Japan.

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Rwanda aims to increase the annual production to 32,500 MT fetching US$95 million in revenues by 2024

It is also aimed to strengthen the “coffee platform”, which is an organized arena of all the coffee value chain stakeholders to promote Rwandan coffee.

Further to that, the project will conduct research, with close collaboration with RAB, on the promising varieties such as Bourbon Mibirizi coffee variety.

The variety can contribute to the branding and global competitiveness of Rwandan coffee according to the experience of Japanese coffee expert, Mr. Jose Kawashima. 

Rwanda targets to increase coffee production to 32,500 MT by 2024

Coffee plays a major role in Rwandan economy and significantly contributes to the foreign exchange earnings and to the monetization of the rural economy.

The commodity accounts for almost 35 % of the country’s total export revenue and provides livelihoods to 400,000 smallholder farmers.

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The Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA IV) aims to increase the annual production to 32,500 MT fetching US$95 million in revenues by 2024.  

In a bid to meet the target, the European Union has also offered its support 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.

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

It 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.

In 2019/2020, Rwanda earned US$60.4 million from green coffee exports, 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%.

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