Rwanda’s National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) has legitimately commenced the procedures of its recently acquired sorting and grading coffee modern machines worth US$1.159 million and through the Trademark East Africa (TMEA), USAID funded the delivery, procurement, installation and functionality of the machines.
Under the regional TMEA Safe Trade Emergency Facility, the Kingdom of Netherlands issued funding for coffee sorting tables worth US$217,000.
As according to Andre Ndikumana the NAEB Chief Financial Officer, it is believed that the equipment will greatly accelerate operations, reduce costs incurred in manual sorting and enable Rwanda to compete internationally in the market as they will produce quality improved coffee.
“The equipment will considerably expedite operations. It is expected to reduce the costs incurred in manual sorting, improve the quality of the coffee, and enable Rwanda to better compete in international markets efficiently.
“This increased capacity will also greatly benefit the 32 coffee producer co-operatives that we serve,” Ndikumana said.
The TMEA Country Director Patience Mutesi, highlighted that farmers are anticipated to collect higher premiums on their coffee due to quality improvement and one of the methods to achieve is to remove barriers to trade in Eastern and Southern Africa and improve as well as encourage competitive nature in the private sector.
“One of the Barriers is that it is used to take about 12 days to fill a 40 foot container with coffee. With this machine, sorting will take less than a day,” the TMEA Country Director stated.
The modern coffee grading and sorting machinery are part of the TMEA’s initiative to assist Rwanda in meeting international Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Standards (SPS) of its agricultural produce to be able to access high-yielding international markets.
According to a representative under the Embassy of the Kingdom the Netherlands Kevin Ngei, the initiative is believed to be a definite game changer that will ensure Rwanda to increase its coffee exportation level.
“It’s definitely a game changer. It will ensure that more coffee exports are realized from Rwanda, which will benefit not only the Dutch exporters, but also the wider European Union markets,” Ngei stated.
About 400,000 small holder farmers are currently involved in coffee farming, therefore producing an upward of 21,000 metric tonnes of the crop.
Rwanda produced coffee is expected to strongly pierce the European market due to quicker procedures and improved quality of the product as the commodity greatly contributes to the country’s economy by having a role to play in the earning of foreign exchange, and in the monetization of the rural economy.
Coffee is said to account for nearly 35% of Rwanda’s total export revenue and despite the Covid-19 effects, coffee exports managed to earn the country about US$61.5 million between 2020, to 2021 this year.