Rwanda Coffee industry has been improving over decades ago, and its recent achievements are commendable. The fact that the number of coffee growers has increased proportionately and consistently with coffee production is a true testament to NAEB’s bold vision of turning dreams into reality.
It’s for such grounds that Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative (CHDI) sat and eyed into Rwanda-based coffee roasting and packing operations as a financially viable and profitable business, with the potential to significantly benefit coffee farmers, the coffee sector and the Rwandan economy as a whole. Thus CHDI founded Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company (RFCC) with Rwanda Government as shareholder. The new coffee plant, branded “Gorilla’s Coffee” was officially inaugurated on March 6, 2015 by Hon Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources alongside Sir Thomas Hunter, one of shareholders and Hunter-Foundation owner.
The function took place in NAEB complex where RFCC is built. The delegation was informed on how the coffee plant operates and relevant information was exposed to them in a 30 min tour they had with a lead of Mr. Innocent Uwimana the managing Director of RFCC.
“This state-of-the-art roasting facility can produce 3,000kg of roasted coffee per day or more when additional shifts are added leading to 10% capacity of green coffee National production.” Innocent briefed the press. Asked on the way forward of the coffee facility and its impact to Rwanda, he said that the business is targeting mostly local and regional African markets for its roasted and packaged coffee at 74 % of sales. The remaining 26 % will be sold into the Middle East and Europe. “Now we have a contract with 42 hotels in United Kingdom and we will be supplying to them 45 tons of roasted coffee every year.” Innocent added. About its contribution to the involved coffee stakeholders, he stated that significant social benefits are there and there will be a growth of Rwanda coffee consumption. Among other inputs of RFCC in Rwanda development, he declared that the factory will directly employ 38 workers (10 skilled, 28 unskilled) in its operations, and at peak, provide a ready market for 800 tons of high quality green coffee (assumed at US $ 4 per kg) which would represent output from approximately 10,000 individual farmers each earning approximately US $ 120 in net profits from their coffee.
In her remarks, the minister of agriculture and guest of honor Hon. Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana has appreciated the initiative of CHDI and other pertinent stakeholders who thought on enhancing sustainability of Rwanda economy by investing in coffee sector, an export related business that will raise Rwanda Coffee profile to the market at the international level.
She also recognized the role of H. E. President of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame, His Excellence President Bill Clinton, Sir Tom Hunter, Board members of RFCC, all stakeholders and coffee growers who, without their efforts, this plant project would not be a success.
“I would like to encourage everyone and here present to continue the vision of the founders and participate in the coffee value addition operations. It’s in this regard, that I call on other companies to invest in coffee business since you have Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company who took the lead in value addition.” Dr. Gerardine challenged the gathering.
From the UK retail sales, 16% of the retail value (US $ 3.21 per Kg) of the coffee is sent directly back to farmers through CHDI with aim to developing partnerships and continuous support to Rwanda Coffee farmers. Thus, Kevin Doreen, representative of Fine Coffee Club Fund, prized $12 000 to two foremost coffee farmers’ cooperatives based on the quality of their productivity.