Rwandan coffee excites buyers on Alibaba platform

Wednesday January 2 2019

Coffee

Three Rwanda coffee companies are on coffee on Alibaba e-platform. PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA 

By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Two months after the launch of the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) by the government and e-commerce giant Alibaba, Rwandan coffee is already enjoying good sales on Alibaba’s Tmall international marketplace.

The eWTP project, which was signed off by President Paul Kagame and Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group aims at opening up Rwandan small and medium-sized enterprises to the 1.3 billion Chinese market through e-commerce.

Although the value of the sales have not yet been computed, three Rwandan coffee companies are already selling coffee on Tmall international e-commerce platform. According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwandan coffee was one of the sought after products on the platform in November.

“We were told our coffee was one of the top most sought after products on Tmall, we haven’t yet computed to get the exact value of the sales but the sales are high,” said Diane Sayinzoga, head of Special Economic Zones and Export Department at RDB.

She said the demand for Rwandan coffee is high adding that although supply is good at the moment, there are concerned that in the coming five months the demand could result in pressure on supply.

“The demand is growing by the day, in the coming few months we might actually have a problem,” she added.

Some Rwandan coffee brands sold on Alibaba’s Tmall international platform are gorilla coffee, West hills coffee and Land of a thousand hills coffee.

When Rwanda Today visited the Tmall international e-commerce platform and searched for gorilla coffee, there were positive reviews on its flavour, scent and price.

“The flavor of Rwanda's beans is fascinating. Although I just bought it and cut the price, I hope that Tmall International should purchase more of this excellent imported coffee beans,” said one of the customers.

Another buyer had this to say, “Very good, this price is quite suitable, the bean is soft and the fruit is obvious. The packaging is very interesting,” A packet of coffee gorilla is sold at $25.8.

In an interview with Benjamin Nkurunziza, sales and marketing manager of Rwanda farmers coffee, the makers of gorilla coffee, he said the company has received positive feedback about the product from the Chinese e-commerce marketplace.

“They are very excited about the product, we have so far sent three shipments, we don’t have the numbers yet, but we are happy about the sales so far,” he said.

When asked how prepared they are to serve the growing demand, he said they are ready to increase their supply when orders increase.

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