Rwandan coffee census due to get underway


We’ve taken a liking to covering stories emanating out of Rwanda recently, mainly because there’s a lot of interesting news coming out of the country’s coffee sector at the moment. Some are good, like Starbucks’ Executive Vice-President giving the nation’s coffee a ringing endorsement, but some aren’t; it’s safe to say that Rwanda’s experiencing a turbulent period at the moment. Prices have tumbled, competitiveness across global markets has increased and many farmers were worried about being had voiced concerns about being left behind.

The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) has previously spoken in a bid to quell those fears and now they’ve begun to act – by beginning a nationwide coffee census.

A whole host of data will be gathered during this exercise, including the density of farmers per locality and the amount of trees on any one farm of plantation.

This move has been welcomed by a number of farmers. Frodouard Murangwa, who was present at the census’ launch, noted that he hopes that it will address some challenges and allow everybody to have an accurate inventory of their own estate.

But of course, undertaking a nationwide survey of this scale won’t be a straightforward procedure.

“For this to happen smoothly, it must be based on tangible and valid data”, warned Aime Bosenibamwe, the governor of Rwanda’s Northern Province.

“It’s high time [we] must move from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming,” he continued.

This census, it is hoped, will increase both professionalism and productivity, not to mention give the NAEB and the nation government the information needed to draw up suitable and sustainable policies for each region.

There’s another reason too, one that may benefit speciality coffee sellers and end users too, as George William Kayonga, the NEAB’s chief executive, explains: “As Rwandan coffee is becoming popular, worldwide, consumers may want to know the background of the admired coffee.”

Simply put, it will help growers and customers go direct to origin and learn more about the cup of coffee that they’re drinking.

The census is due to last ten days.

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