The Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Geraldine Mukeshimana, has called upon the youth to look for job opportunities in coffee production especially in value addition and searching for its market.
The minister said coffee farming is very important for Rwanda because it contributes enormously to the economy of the country and generates job opportunities for many citizens.
Dr. Mukeshimana made the remarks on Tuesday while officiating the international ‘Let’s Talk Coffee Rwanda’ event taking place from 17 to 19 June, 2019 in the Kigali Serena Hotel.
Let’s Talk Coffee Rwanda attracted experts in coffee farming, farmers, buyers, government institutions and others related players in the coffee value chain.
Thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies and Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, the event brings buyers to the farmers to ensure access to international markets.
It was also attended by farmers from various coffee cooperatives who were trained by Sustainable Growers Rwanda, representing over 32,000 women from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who cultivate coffee.
Minister Mukeshimana said that Rwanda has conducive climate, landscape, good mountainous soil which are favourable for good-quality coffee crop.
She added that the government also established good policies that seek to support coffee’s standard such as working with cooperatives, training the members as well as supporting farmers and the cooperatives to boost coffee standards.
“In order to have a steadily increasing coffee production in both quality and quantity, there are certain conditions such as consistent pre-harvest and post-harvest care as well as boosting its quality,” she noted.
The Director of Sustainable Growers in East Africa, Christine Condo said that the event allows participants to discuss some existing issues in coffee farming as well as the opportunities it presents.
She thanked Rwanda and DRC for their good collaboration, as well as Bloomberg Philanthropies and Michael Bloomberg in general.
Alvera Mukamurigo, a coffee farmer who attended the event from Gicumbi District, Muko Sector said that when Sustainable Growers project was introduced, it gathered women into teams and trained them to care for coffee from the time it is planted, harvested to the factory.
“This organisation offers trainings, caring for coffee and implementing other government policies. Today’s countryside woman no longer regard coffee as a crop for men only, but we all work together to tap it and support our family,” she said.
Coffee is one of the most important crops for Rwanda’s economy.
The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) announced that last year, Rwanda exported about 24000 tonnes of coffee worth $67 million.
This year, Rwanda targets to hit $75 million from coffee.