Regional farmers risk losses as KQ and Ethiopia Airlines fight
Something needs to be done to encourage Rwandans to start consuming coffee and make it a local custom.
Despite the high quality coffee produced in Rwanda, local consumption remains a big puzzle to be solved and this has very negative effects on the incomes and livelihoods of farmers.
Hundreds of delegates gathered in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, for the annual meetings of the Inter-African Coffee Organization (OPCW) from November 16-19, 2021. This symposium discusses coffee value chains and strategies for increasing local coffee consumption and stimulate trade.
Addressing delegates at this forum, Dr Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Minister of State at Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said, “If we are to improve the livelihoods of our coffee farmers, we need to promote national coffee consumption so that they can increase the income of their coffee plantation.
In his presentation, Dr Ngabitsinze said: “the coffee product is complex, so we have to find solutions of this complexity”. He told the symposium that coffee is not just a commodity, “it’s a magical tool that helps people improve their lives socially and financially.
He called for an increase in domestic consumption to increase farmers’ incomes.
“What are we doing to make sure that domestic consumption increases and that our people (farmers) have not just income but wealth? Said Dr Ngabitsinze, highlighting different initiatives that can increase local coffee consumption.
According to him, there are around 12 million coffee farmers in Africa who work until 2 p.m. and would like to see domestic consumption increase to considerable levels. He said there is a need for new strategies to increase consumption.
During the forum, some speakers elaborated on the main challenges facing the coffee sector.
For example, Raissa Ikuzwe, CEO of Ino Coffee Series (Specialty Coffee) spoke about the volatility of coffee prices which negatively affects coffee producers.
“Price volatility in the export market has an impact on the coffee sector and exposes coffee producers to unnecessary risks. Therefore, it is essential to engage in strategies that enable African coffee farmers to obtain a higher and better share of the consumer price, ”she said.
Ikuzwe said that due to price volatility, farmers are also reducing investments and mainly reducing the workforce, creating a downward spiral of poor production and low income and the people who suffer the most are the workers. agricultural.
“Coffee farmers are investing too much of their resources in the hope that the next coffee price on the world market will be worthy of their efforts. When faced with uncertain prices, especially prices that do not cover production costs, they minimize efforts, ”Ikuzwe said.
According to her, it is essential to focus on the added value and domestic consumption of African coffee: “In addition to the flow of export money, believe me, there is a large intact market for coffee in our region which must be fully explored, ”she noted.
She added that the marketing strategies of most African producing countries have only focused on exporting. “With the persistent problems related to climate change, fluctuations in quantities and other factors, the export price of coffee has been very sensitive to price volatility. “
The theme of this Annual General Meeting is “Strengthening the coffee value chain for a sustainable development of the economy and improving the livelihoods of African producers”