KIGALI, Rwanda, Sept. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- You could be in London, New York, or Sydney, enjoying a cup of premium coffee; an aromatic cappuccino or espresso.
As you take a sip, think of Nsanzumuhire, a 28-year-old Rwandan coffee farmer from a remote village in Gakenke district. Nsanzumuhire has dedicated his life to coffee, spending hours in a 3000 strong plantation.
He is one of about 400,000 small scale coffee growers whose lives revolve around producing the world's most admired coffee; Arabica and Maraba.
Growing premium coffee is an intense undertaking. Farmers sweat to produce coffee on 42,000 hectares of rolling volcanic hills.
There is a grueling processes involved. Fresh cherries are carefully picked off the trees, taken to washing stations and immediately pealed, fermented for hours. Precautions are taken from washing to packaging.
Mukabavugirije, an international cupper, says, "Everything, including dust or perfume, can be felt in a cup of coffee." Rwanda's coffee scores above 85%. An estimated 90% of Rwanda's premium coffee is exported to United States.
The global coffee industry is worth over $100b per year, but 90% of it is produced by developing countries, such as Brazil, Vietnam and Columbia. Rwanda accounts for about 5%.
American coffee giant, Starbucks, is the leading buyer of Rwanda's specialty coffee.
Rwashoscco, a Rwandan exporter, ships 30 containers of 18 tons each a year. Each ton fetches about $6,500. Rwanda's Agricultural Export Board says 22,000 metric tons were sold last year, fetching about $56m.
The government has pumped subsidies into the sector to increase exports from 22,000 to 35,000 tons by 2017.
Demand for Rwandan coffee has exploded over the years. Washing stations buying from farmers rose to 240 this year from only two in 2000.
But the gap between the final price tag and amount given to farmers remains a challenge. This year, fresh cherries increased slightly from $30 cents per kilo to $50 cents by end of August, but a cup of premium coffee in New York or London goes for quite a price.
So as you enjoy a cup of a soothing coffee, think of Nsanzumuhire's unwavering dedication.
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SOURCE KT Press