Rwanda, known as the country of thousand hills and million smiles, again was worth the visit. Overwhelmed by the Rwandese warm welcome and beautiful landscape, it was great seeing our friends and partners, as well as new partners, again, after a long period of uncertainty and travel restrictions.
This year’s crop in Rwanda is characterized by its early start and length. Good rains and gentle temperatures led to an extensive flowering period, that occurred in different time lapses from region to region. The volume is expected to be 20% up compared to last year. However, quality might be volatile from region to region.
The general environment of covid with raising energy and material costs, interrupted and uncertain value chains, the global coffee deficit and high C market, the nonexistent carry from last crop, etc. There is more than one parameter leading to the fact that prices will be high – too high… The increased production costs coupled with the also raising export costs lead to extremely high prices of some specialty lots.
But why are production costs higher?
During covid many unexpected costs (sanitizer, masks etc.) for Coffee Washing Stations have arisen. Due to the Pandemic, repairing material and buying new machines has become expensive. Prices for fertilizer have increased enormously. Furthermore, the war in the Ukraine makes itself felt here, too: of course, fuel and electricity prices have also been impacted over there.
Other challenges Rwanda is facing
During covid, station managers had to work with fewer people to respect some kind of social distancing. It was difficult for them to support the producers who deliver cherries regarding the aim of increasing farming productivity.
The restrictions and fear of the virus made small producers stay at home. Some modernization and training efforts have been stagnating. However, some virtual educational meetings at the stations have been established.
Another challenge remains: the Rwandan landscape is, in terms of varieties, still very monotonous, since Bourbon, which is a sensitive plant, not resistant to rust and other diseases like the potato defect, is almost the only variety that is allowed to be exported. The National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) is slowly approving tests for other varieties. But export licenses for those tests are still difficult to get. Some of our producers are plating new varieties such as RAB C15 (variety from India which is resistant to rust), San Roque (variety from Costa Rica, resistant to rust), Batian (variety from Kenya), Geishas and others.
On Instagram, we would like to take you on our journey in the next few days, to give you an insight into the different qualities, cultivation and processing methods and to introduce our long-standing partners and new contacts. Go and check it out!
Stay tuned for samples!