All the buzz about AFCA’s activities

KIGALI — 28th March, 2018—RwandAir and Question Coffee announced today a ground breaking partnership to serve Rwandan specialty coffee on all of RwandAir flights with over 2 million cups to be offered in the next 2 years. This partnership allows passengers the opportunity to support small holder women farmers and
their families in Rwanda.

To read more please visit page 30 of our July-September Magazine Issue 


You have heard and may be, may be start believing that bad omens exist like Friday the 13th, and Tuesday the 13th, or flipping over a cooked fish, placing bread upside down, eating goats’ meat or even hearing a hoot from an owl. Yes, these and many more exist in the society around us and are all a recipe for a very bad day; yeah, yeah but all that is child’s when it comes to starting your day with bad cup of coffee.

To read more please visit page 14 of our July-September Magazine Issue 

Coffee producing countries develop their local roasting industry as their local coffee consumption grows. Is it due to the increase of consumption or is the roasting industry driving the increase in consumption? It is difficult to say but we are sure that both phenomenon are closely linked.

When coffee is locally roasted, cup quality sharply improves.  Many reasons may explain that virtuous evolution:

  • Better quality for the same price: competition between local roasters mainly relies on price and quality. Marketing means (advertising, promotion) are scarce and cannot be compared to international coffee brands. If you do not want to cut price, you better try to propose the coffee drinker the best possible quality!
  • Ambition and Idealism: when a coffee grower starts roasting and tasting his own coffee, he quickly becomes a connoisseur. He will try to improve the cup of coffee as he can now regulate each parameter of the coffee production chain from the tree to the cup.
  • Better coffee tasting experience: when people experience an exquisite coffee, their quality requirement improve. They ask for a better personal coffee tasting experience which can be provided only by the local roaster.

To read more please visit page 09 of our July-September Magazine Issue 

By Joseph Burite in Kampala

While the world keeps refilling its coffee cup Africa hasn’t kept up. Now farmers and policy-makers are focusing on this potential cash-crop dynamo with schemes to boost exports and strengthen processing capacity on the continent

The feeder route from the hard-surface road to Lake Nyabihoko in Uganda’s Western Region district of Ntungamo is unsparingly bumpy over several kilometers. Charles Barugahare has been operating commuter services here, in the form of a Japanese pick-up truck ferrying passengers to and from the area’s main trading centre, for 20 years. It is usually easy finding a spot to grab during the journey. But in days between May and August, passengers often have to compete with loads of coffee bags heading to mills for processing, a first stop on their path to international markets.

For a greater part of his life, the cargo in his truck was the closest association           Barugahare had with coffee, despite it being a common cash crop in the area. Recently though, seeking to diversify his income stream from cattle rearing and a liquor store and tempted by government planting supplies, the father-of-three planted four acres of robusta coffee. “These are the things l3.2% Expected rise in coffee output across the continent in the 2017/2018 season - SOURCE: ICOeft for us to do now,” Barugahare says at his hilltop house overlooking a lake. “It’s not much. It’s just for a start,” he adds while gazing at his plantation.

In his small way, Barugahare is contributing to African countries’ plans to raise coffee production, which is on course to reach about 16 million 60kg bags this season. If more farmers turn to the crop, the continent could raise production by an estimated three million 60kg bags annually, industry officials estimate. Most of the continent’s production is by smallholder farmers rather than big industrial plantations.

New legislation

To achieve that target, Africa’s two main producers, Ethiopia and Uganda, are focusing on abandoned coffee farms for rehabilitation. Farmers in Kenya are planting new varieties and expanding in new areas, especially towards the west, to reduce the risk of pests and diseases, explains Ishak Lukenge, chairman of the Africa Fine Coffees Association (AFCA). The Ugandan government is also fast-tracking new legislation that seeks to improve farm operations, organise farmers and improve quality so as to increase profit margins and access to market.

The success of initiatives aimed at increasing production will likely revive the continent’s medium- and long-term export prospects to match or even surpass levels attained in 1990, Lukenge says. With production that stagnated for more than 20 years, Africa’s share of global output decreased from 36.6% in 1990 to an estimated 10.8% in 2016. Its share of the total value of global coffee exports fell from 21% in 1990 to 9.4% in 2016. This took place as global demand increased by more than 50%, from 100 million bags to 159 million bags predicted for the year 2017/2018, according to the International Coffee Organization. In 2017/2018, output in Africa is expected to rise 3.2% to 17.66 million bags.

Still, Africa’s producers, which amount to around seven million households, are largely missing out on opportunities brought by global growth in demand that resulted from increased consumption in emerging economies, José Sette, ICO executive director told media in February.

Actors in the African sector want to boost coffee drinking at home. “At AFCA, what we have realised is that we need to promote more coffee consumption within the African region,” says Lukenge. “We have to add value here and trade within the African region, not Europe.” So far, though, there is little evidence of change on the ground, and most of the roasting, blending and packaging is still done outside the continent.

Private-equity firm The Abraaj Group is betting big that there is untapped demand for coffee on the continent. It purchased Kenya’s Java House coffee chain last year and the company announced in May that it has major expansion plans on the continent.

As of 2016/2017, Africa’s coffee consumption stood at 11 million bags, with annual growth averaging 1.9% since 2013/2014, according to ICO data. Ethiopia, the largest African coffee consumer, drinks about half of the 7.65 million bags it produces. Sudan follows with 700,000 bags per annum, and South Africa rounds off the top three consumers at 500,000 bags. Nigeria, Africa’s second-largest economy, consumes all of its negligible production. With its large population, it is seen as a potential market that producers like Kenya are looking to tap. A growing youth market could mean Africa will soon be consuming 40 million bags of coffee a year, the AFCA’s Lukenge estimates.

Climate challenges

Africa’s production hinges on a favourable climate, a factor that already poses threats. In Ethiopia, growers have reported delayed harvests as climate change interfered with bean ripening.

Output targets have also been derailed in Tanzania by seasonal unpredicability, forcing the East African country to revise its strategic plan, says Primus Kimaryo, acting director general of Tanzania coffee board. Tanzania’s coffee production dropped to 780,000 bags in 2016/2017 from 1.03 million bags in 2015/2016. It is forecast to fall further to 716,000 bags in 2017/2018. This makes it very difficult for farmers to meet the government’s target of 1.6 million bags by 2021.

Structural limitations in some regions also constrain the sector. “Export processes, which include pricing, logistics, finance, risk management and transport, are a real challenge for East Africa,” says coffee trader Phil Schluter. “It’s the reason why coffee sometimes takes four-to-five months to leave the region and realistic shipping times are four-to-five months after harvest, whereas in Central America [they are] about half that or less,” he says.

Uganda’s farmers have their own obstacles. “The only disadvantage we have is the [price of] freight,” says the AFCA’s Lukenge. “We are landlocked. From Kampala to Mombasa costs about $110 per tonne. When you go to Ethiopia, from Addis to Djibouti, it is $30 per tonne. So we have that disadvantage of being away from the sea.”

 Average share of coffee exports in total export earnings Coffee production worldwide in 2017, by country

An awful lot of coffee

Across the continent, smallholder farmers would benefit if governments rolled out more extension services and other policies that focused on all links in the production-to-export chain. Schluter says farmers like Barugahare stand to earn higher prices if they improve the post-harvest handling of beans. They could triple from an average of $0.91 per pound currently to $2.3-$3 per pound, Schluter argues. Schluter also sees potential for an 86% increase in African yields if proper varieties and agronomy are applied. Along with post-harvest processing, “this is where money should be spent by African producers,” he says.

Indeed, Uganda is starting to reap the benefits of such improvements. In 2013, the government deployed the army to conduct agricultural extension services, which saw soldiers offer improved coffee seedlings and agronomy advice. Production had long stagnated at 3.6 million bags and then the country increased output to 4.96 million bags in 2015/2016 and 5.1 million in 2016/2017. Policy-makers hope the country will lead the charge for a revival of Africa’s output, targeting a harvest of 20 million bags by 2030 – a surge that could spur the continent to levels closer to industry leaders Brazil and Vietnam.

But Brazil remains king and its expected record harvest this year is already causing jitters as prices are likely to fall. There are bound to be bumps in the road for African coffee growers who want a bigger stake in a highly competitive field against strong agricultural powerhouses. And falling prices will test those farmers’ commitment to coffee in the next few years.



More than 8,000 specialty coffee professionals from all continents around the world are gathering in Washington State Convention Center, Seattle for the 30th Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA)’s annual trade conference. The four-day event commenced on 19th and ends on 22nd April 2018. A series of activities are arranged for the event ranging from exhibitions, cupping, lectures, workshops and performance assessment.

The Rwanda coffee brand (the most sought-after specialty coffee) is being showcased for the fourth time along with other coffee varieties from other countries around the globe. Agricultural exhibitions for export products is one of the strategies which NAEB has put in place to identify and expand market niche and establish market linkages with different international potential buyers.  So far, Rwanda coffee industry has gained direct market sales (24% of the country’s total coffee export) and built relationship with the SCAA.

To read more please visit page 16 of our July-September Magazine Issue 


Coffee farmers will get monthly payments in a new model being implemented in Meru County to fasten coffee payments currently taking six to eight months.

A senior Cooperative Officer at the State Department of Cooperatives, Samuel Kuria, said this is a pilot project being implemented in Meru County borrowed from the Ethiopian Cash Payment Model.

Ordinarily, coffee farmers are normally paid after the sale of their produce in the market which takes six to eight months, and this had demoralized farmers forcing many uproot the crop.

To read more please visit page 41 of our July-September Magazine Issue 

Angelique Karekezi, President of the IWCA Rwanda Chapter and Managing Director of Rwashoscco, has shared with the IWCA Global Network that the Rambagira Kawa cooperative has a new partnership with German social business start-up

The Rwandan women’s only cooperative, and IWCA Rwanda Chapter member, Rambagira Kawa is partnering with Kaffee-Kooperative to introduce Angelique’s Finest, coffee 100% Made by Women, to the German market. Kaffee-Kooperative is currently crowdfunding the project at The project is supported by women’s right organization TERRE DES FEMMES and German women’s magazine BRIGITTE. The crowdfunding takes place from January 13th to February 25th, 2018.

To read more please visit page 45 of our July-September Magazine Issue 

The AFCA BUSINESS TRAVEL CLUB this year organises another trip to São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo States from 9th to 15th September 2018.


Learn more about the Brazilian coffee sector with the assistance of experienced consultants! Palini and Alves in partnership with the African Fine Coffees Association offer this incredible opportunity to experience all aspects of coffee innovations in terms of research (best practices and varieties), post-harvesting, processing, quality and marketing, through guided visits to relevant Arabica and Canephora coffee stakeholders in Brazil.

Download the program flyer and registration form here.



By.Carlos Henrique Jorge Brando

Discussions about the economic viability of coffee farming are gaining momentum as Arabica prices remain low. Such viability, i.e., healthy returns to growers, is strongly associated with productivity that is often dependent on factors beyond farm gate, as proposed at the article Reshaping African Coffee Industry for Productivity Improvement and Investment published by this magazine in April 2017*. What I now add is the role that coffee processing, especially on-farm, may have on improving or worsening the viability of the business. To have good productivity without relying on proper processing technology to get the most out of the coffee produced may be the difference between profit or loss and therefore a key determinant of the economic viability of coffee farming.

To read more please visit Page 5 of our July-September 2018 Magazine Issue 

Be an early bird and take advantage of prevailing discounted conference and exhibition registration rates, and secure your spot at the most amazing upcoming conference in the heart of Rwanda 12th -15th February 2019.

Click the following link to submit complete and filled online delegate and booth registrations;

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It is always our great honour to host you at our exciting and fruitful annual conferences & exhibitions.

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Thank you.