Rwanda Coffee Output Seen Climbing 20% on Weather, Yields

Rwanda’s coffee production may climb as much as 20 percent to 24,000 metric tons this year because of good weather and a high yield, the state-run National Agricultural Exports Board said.

Output may rise from 20,000 tons last year, Robinah Uwera, the agency’s marketing director, said today by phone from Kigali, the capital.

“This year we expect bigger production because of a high yield crop cycle and good weather,” Uwera said. “The cycle alternates such that when you have a good yield this year it falls the following season.”

Harvesting in the central African nation, which produces mostly arabica beans, started last month, she said. The country exports more than 98 percent of its crop, according to the Eastern African Fine Coffee Association.

The agency had targeted output of 40,000 tons for 2011 two years earlier. The sector failed to meet the projection because of insufficient production of coffee cherries and weak management, the agency said on its website. The East African region had the worst drought in 60 years last year, which also affected agricultural ouput.

Coffee and tea are Rwanda’s major crop exports. The nation earned $75 million from coffee bean shipments in 2011, compared with $56 million a year earlier, because of improved global prices, Uwera said.

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