East Africa

China head over heels for Rwanda’s coffee

Rwandan brand, Gorilla Coffee, traded all of its stock through Alibaba’s Tmall

On Thursday, May 14, Rwanda hit another milestone with its coffee which sold out in seconds through the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

Rwandan coffee has continued to grow in popularity globally with the latest auction seeing China buy over 3,000 bags in less than a minute at the eWTP.

The eWTP platform was first launched in Rwanda by the Government of Rwanda and Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group in October 2018 to offer African businesses easier access to new markets through simple and straightforward procedures.

eWTP is also being used to drive sales for global brands impacted by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Livestream event saw Rwandan brand, Gorilla Coffee, trade all of its stock, through Alibaba’s Tmall cross border e-commerce store, highlighting the impact technology has in disrupting global supply chains.

“Our coffee sales plunged during the coronavirus pandemic as supply chains were ruptured and cafés and hotels were forced to close their doors. A sharp drop in flights worldwide also caused transportation costs of Rwandan coffee to more than double. Thanks to supporting from the eWTP Gorilla’s Coffee was able to not only reach large swathes of consumers but also generated enough sales to qualify for more reasonable freight rates,” said David Ngarambe, the Chief Executive Officer of Gorilla’s Coffee.

Alibaba Group Director and Executive Chairman of Ant Group, Eric Jing, said they want to support SMEs worldwide to recover from the outbreak, resume production and secure orders in their times of need with digital technologies.

“Through today’s Livestream, we look forward to reopening global trade, starting with helping businesses reopen,” he added.

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe who was in attendance during the Livestream said that it is particularly important to continue with trade because that is the only to build a prosperous world and a prosperous Africa.

“At a time when the world is closing down, opening up of the Electronic World Trade Platform to more countries of the continent, we can do more together to ensure that no one is left behind from the Covid-19 crisis,” Songwe added.

Rwanda is positioning its coffee strategically for the world with the country widening its scope into Nigeria after a partnership deal with JR Farms and Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company (RFCC) in 2018. The first shipment worth $20,000 under the deal was on June 1, 2018.

Previously, Rwanda has marketed its commodity on a global scale with the European market slowly buying into the Made-in-Rwanda beverage.

The East African nation is not only targeting expanding its market but it is also working to ensure that it is producing high-grade coffee for these markets.

In October 2018, these efforts were recognised after the country scooped two awards in the 3rd annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards.

Ngororero Coffee Washing Station won “Best of the Best” and “Coffee Lover’s Choice” awards in a rare occurrence since no coffee from any part of the world has ever picked up both awards.

And as the country expands its markets, a new coffee shop was opened in the United States of America by the Rwanda Bean Coffee Company.

The shop was opened in South Portland, U.S and it will provide settlers with a chance to taste one of the high-end quality coffee from Africa while increasing the reach of Rwandan firms in the country.

The coffee shop serves three types of coffee- blond roast, medium roast and dark roast.

With coffee production being an integral commodity in Rwanda that has helped the government rake in millions of revenues from its exports, the commodity’s marketing is not about to stop any time soon.

As part of the country’s National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB)’s strategies to produce quantity and quality coffee, Rwanda aims at planting 34,000 new coffee trees by the year 2024.

This approach has seen Nestlé and Sucafina extend a partnership for coffee production by three years.

In this partnership, the two companies are focusing particularly on the social-economic inclusion of women and youth in Rwanda.

Sucafina is a “Farm to Roaster” coffee company and it joined forces with Nestlé in 2015 to run a programme called ‘’Coffee by women’’ under the Nescafé Plan.

The programme aims at improving the livelihoods and resilience of small-scale coffee producers across Rwanda while ensuring long term sourcing of high-quality coffee.

So far, the programme has reached 5,053 coffee farmers with 37 per cent comprising of women and 24 per cent, youth.

For this second phase, Nestlé and its supplier Sucafina are aiming at reaching 3,057 women.

Source: The Exchange Africa

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