Kombe la dhahabu means ‘golden cup’ in Swahili. The contest organized by Fairtrade Africa takes place in different African countries with a view to promote and market the continent’s coffee nationally and internationally.
Fairtrade Africa (FTA) is the umbrella network organisation representing Fairtrade certified producers and workers in Africa. It has four regional networks – Eastern and Central Africa; Southern Africa; Western Africa; and the Middle East and North Africa.
During this year’s contest, Rwanda participated along with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi.
Initially, 10 best coffee varieties were selected from 38 registered samples before choosing the top three.
As the contest came to close, Bwishaza won the first two positions followed by Muhanga based coffee farmers’ cooperative dubbed ‘Abateraninkunga ba Sholi’.
Winners will be helped to market their produce at the international market and linked to investors from different corners around the world.
They will also be sponsored to attend big specialty coffee events to gain marketing and business skills, and create market connections.
Bwishaza cooperative is comprised of 532 farmers grouped together to increase quality coffee and help each other in commercialization of their produce.
The Managing Director of Bwishaza cooperative, Josué Imanikuzwe has attributed the quality of their coffee to best practices where they monitor the quality of coffee from the first day until the harvesting time.
“We closely monitor our coffee from the planting season until it reaches maturity. After harvesting, we process our produce with due diligence and taste it before supplying to buyers,” he said.
Imanikuzwe has expressed optimism that the awards will give them visibility, encourage them to keep striving for excellence and attract more buyers beyond existing market in Korea.
“We have registered steady growth since the creation of our cooperative. The awards will give us a competitive edge for a good market helping farmers to increase profits,” he revealed.
Aimable Nshimiye, an accountant at ’Abaterankunga ba Sholi’ which took the third place has said that much effort have been earmarked to produce high quality coffee.
“After winning last year’s contest, we committed to work hard to remain among best coffee producers,” he said.
Faith Muthoni, Coffee Team Leader at Fairtrade Africa - Eastern and Central Africa Network has revealed that winners stand chance to get their coffee brands marketed across the world.
“We will help winners of this contest to market their coffee at the international market. Their brands will also be showcased at globally renowned exhibitions. These include a trade fair to be held in Italy and Korea,” she said.
Muthoni has advised contestants who did not win to work hard to improve quality of their coffee so they can win in next editions.
Rwanda has 355 771 coffee farmers of whom 68% are men.
Kombe la Dhahabu contest also encourages value addition and fair income distribution by producing and commercializing quality coffees, the producers guarantee sustainable production processes.
In September last year, National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) announced that Rwanda generated more than US$61.5 million (Rwf62.2 billion) from coffee exports amounting to 16.8 million kilograms in 2020/2021.
The revenues increased by 1.83% compared to US$60.4 generated from 19.7 million kgs of coffee exports in the previous year.