Coffee was introduced in Rwanda at the beginning of the 20th century and is grown mainly by small scale coffee farmers estimated at 500,000 in number with an average of 165 coffee trees per farmer. Rwanda has good climate conditions, high altitude, volcanic soil, plenty of sun and equatorial mist that favors the growing of Arabica coffee. The country therefore exclusively grows Arabica coffee.

Areas that grow coffee in Rwanda
The areas that grow coffee include the following:

  • Butare
  • Byumba
  • Gisenyi
  • Kigali-Ngali
  • Gitarama
  • Kibungo
  • Kibuye
  • Cyangugu
  • Gikongoro

Types of coffee in Rwanda

The types of coffee grown in Rwanda include the following:

  • Caturra
  • Catuai
  • Bourbon (Arabica) with varieties like;
    • Harrar; POP3303/21
    • Jackson 2/1257; BM 139.

Production of coffee
The quantity of coffee production ranges from 20,000 to 22,000 metric tons per year.

The uses of coffee are as follows:

  • Source of income to coffee farmers.
  • Coffee husks can be used as fertilizers for plants.
  • Coffee leaves are used as natural medicine
  • Coffee when roasted is used in producing coffee as a beverage which is enjoyed by a number of people in Rwanda.
  • Contribute on the nutrition of people.
  • Source of revenue to the country by exporting it

The challenges in coffee growing include the following:

  • High production costs and unpredictable international coffee prices.
  • Lack of financial support or access to credit to buy equipments to use in coffee farms.
  • Inadequate infrastructure in rural areas which makes transportation costly.
  • Inadequate research and development about coffee
  • Labour usage in coffee plantations is typically seasonal and expensive.
  • Costly standards for certification by coffee farmers.
  • Transportation is a problem with Rwanda coffee.
  • Rwanda’s landlocked and transportation of coffee by land is quite expensive.