Rwanda coffee output to rise on Goverment Measures

Kigali. The Rwandan government has announced draconian measures targeting a 75-per cent increase to generate $60 million in coffee production by the year 2012.

However, the exploitation of this cash crop could become an economical cross to bear for several farmers from remote areas in the Central African nation.

Among other measures adopted, include a fine on coffee farmers who fail to tend their plantations properly,  and who fail to apply a commonly recommended fertilizer known as Nitrogen Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK), the director general of the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB), Alex Kanyankore said.

Defaulting farmers would pay 100 Rwandan Francs ($0.16) per coffee tree, while any farmer who uproots a coffee tree to grow food crops will pay 500 francs ($0.83) for each uprooted tree.

The coffee sector employs 400,000 Rwandan farmers who maintain a total of 70 million trees in individual plots.
After harvest, NAEB buys farmers crops at prices ranging from 200 to 300 Francs ($0.34-51) per kilogram.
Rwanda intends to increase annual coffee production from 16 to 26 tonnes by the year 2012.

Coffee production, which in 1998 was only 14 tonness has been constantly increasing. However NAEB says despite current efforts (to boost coffee production), the current level is still below the level attained before the 1994 genocide (43 tonnes).

Rwanda has also decided to plant 4.3 million new trees as it replaces the old ones.

In 2010, one of the country’s Agriculture Research Institutes based in Rubona, a village 100 kilometers in the south, introduced a technique to multiply coffee seedlings that resist bacteria and which can produce a higher yield to generate a higher turnover for poor small-scale farmers.

Rwanda’s ministry of Agriculture emphasises to make premium coffee- growing national priority since the crop has always achieved an international recognition. (Xinhua)

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