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Rwanda: Embank on a new coffee variety to boost the sector’s growth

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In Rwanda, farmers can now purchase a new coffee variety (the RABC15 variety of Coffea Arabica), which begins yielding two years after planting, as compared to the current kinds, which begin harvesting three years after planting; this development is expected to strengthen Rwanda’s coffee sector.

According to Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, the new type is disease resistant and more productive, and it is projected to enhance coffee production in the country as well as bring in more cash for farmers (RAB).

The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and the National Agriculture Exports Development Board (NAEB) collaborated on it as part of the Project for Rural Income via Exports (PRICE).

The RABC15 variety of Coffea Arabica was released eight years after various experiments on its resilience against major coffee diseases such as coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease, as well as adaptability to major agro-ecological conditions in Rwanda, according to Dr. Simon Martin Mvuyekure (Ph.D.), Ag. Senior Research Fellow and Traditional Export Crops Programme Coordinator at RAB.

According to RAB specialists, the variety would alleviate the problem of illnesses causing 40% of coffee production to be lost. It will also be able to enhance coffee yield per tree by more than 20%. “Moreover, the variety grows sooner than standard commercial types,” he added.

According to him, this new variety has an overall score of more than 85% (specialty coffee), making it the best coffee in the country.

The variety was introduced in 2015, and the mother garden was built in 2018 [to provide the best planting materials to be distributed to farmers], according to Mvuyekure, who added that RAB presently has enough seeds to de seeds to farmers.

He claims that there is currently a manufacturing capacity of five tonnes (5,000 kilograms of seeds per year), which equates to at least 15 million trees of the new species. Every year, this many trees can be planted on 6,000 hectares of coffee.

This means that if all farmers accept it, there will be enough trees of this new kind to replace about 40,000 hectares of coffee farms in Rwanda in four years.

However, he stated that a country should not have only one coffee variety, implying that diversification is necessary to have a backup in case one fails due to numerous circumstances.

He explained that RAB, in collaboration with NAEB, held training for private coffee seeds multiplied during which public and private stakeholders pledged to collaborate in developing a framework for harmonizing reharmonizing and nursery development, facilitating seed distribution across the country, and increasing, the sector productivity.

Farmers need this rather quick maturing coffee type, according to Fulgence Sebazungu, head of the Rwanda Coffee Cooperatives’ Federation (RCCF), according to The New Times.

“In terms of volume, Rwanda does not rank among the world’s leading coffee producers, such as Brazil, Colombia, or even Ethiopia.” Quality coffee is what the country sells. So it’s commendable that this new coffee variety produces higher yields and has the excellent quality they,” he remarked.

He valued the availability of this early-maturing variety at a time when Rwanda is replacing old coffee kinds with new ones in order to boost output.

According to NAEB, 30 percent of the country’s 100 million coffee trees – or roughly 30 million trees – are elderly and in need of replacement.

When coffee trees are at least 30 years old, they are considered old. As a result, their output is drastically reduced.

“The elderly trees’ coffee output has been diminishing. Farmers will benefit from having this new high-quality type to replace them, according to Sebazungu.

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente told legislators last month at a Parliamentary session on government activities related to agriculture inputs that the government expects to plant more than 3.7 million coffee seedlings on 1,500 hectares every year.

It’s worth noting that the price of coffee on the international market increased by 59% last week, from $3.7 per kilogram the previous year.

Due to rising worldwide prices, the minimum price at which quality coffee cherries are purchased from farmers was increased by 65 percent in February this year, from Rwf248 per kilogram last year to kilograms per kilogram.

Rwanda kilogram than 16.8 million kilograms of coffee inkilograms021 fiscal year, generating $61.5 million, an increase of 1.83 percent over the $60.4 million received in the previous fiscal year from selling more than 19.7 million kilograms of coffee.

kilograms to NAEB data, the government aims to produce 31,000 tonnes of green coffee and generate $95 million in income by 2024.

Rwanda has over 400,000 coffee producers who rely on the commodity for their livelihood.

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