Crisis looms in coffee sector as farmers hold on to old trees

Saturday February 11 2023
Coffee prod

There has been a decline in coffee producing due to changing weather patterns. Photo: Cyril Ndegeya

By Ange Iliza

Coffee farmers will soon find themselves in deep crisis as reality of relying on old trees
starts hitting them.

The majority of coffee trees on farms are more than 30 years old. Farmers who rely on coffee sales to provide for their families are hesitant to overhaul their plantations and wait up to three years before they start harvesting.

Coffee dealers are worried that the production could shrink further to an unrecoverable level in the next three years, dimming Rwanda’s coffee exports.

National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) 2020/2021 report indicated that there was a five percent decrease in annual coffee production under the period under review.

In 2022, total coffee production declined to 2,359 tones from 3,414 tones. In the month of November 2021, coffee production amounted to 1.4 million kilograms from 2.4 million kilograms produced in 2020, a decline of 38 per cent.

Farmers who spoke to Rwanda Today expressed concerns about the cost that comes with planting new coffee trees. They say the price remains high despite the government’s incentives such as free coffee seedlings and fertilizers.


According to Kivu Belt Coffee Ltd, a coffee dealing company that works with over 700 coffee farmers in the Nyamasheke district, farmers remain dealing with the bank.