Business

NAEB moves to ensure quality along the coffee supply chain

The National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) will next month train coffee farmers, dealers and other stakeholders, a move expected to enhance quality along the supply chain. BOOST: NAEB will next month train coffee sector stakeholders in a move aimed at improving quality along the supply chain, and also to help them understand market trends. The New Times / File Betty Kayitesi, the in charge of international coffee marketing at NAEB, noted that coffee farmers and dealers are presently not making good profits due to poor handling skills, as well as lack of market information and speculation. “Most coffee farmers and dealers do not know proper produce handling methods. Also, dealers often buy and stock coffee even when there are price fluctuations on the market. It is, therefore, important they learn the best practices and understand market trends to predict market situations,” Kayitesi noted. She added that the training will also equip dealers with necessary skills to be able to negotiate good deals, especially on the global arena. “If they negotiate good prices and are able to calculate their income; this will have a trickle-down effect in terms of better rates for farmers and boost farmers’ morale, which will ensure sustainable crop output,” Kayitesi said. Colette Uwamahoro, the chairperson of Shining Coffee Exporting Cooperative in Bugesera District, noted that lack of the necessary market information and low rates have demoralised farmers, with some of them abandoning the crop. “Limited knowledge on market value of coffee at national and international levels means that dealers often give farmers low prices, which discourages them,” Uwamahoro said. Vedasiti Naganda, a coffee farmer from Nyanza District, is optimistic the training will help them gain requisite skills and knowledge to improve quality along the coffee supply chain. Though Rwanda’s coffee is preferred on the global market, the sector sometimes faces issues of poor quality and low prices that demoralises farmers. The coffee industry brought in about $5.3m (Rwf3.6b) during the month of November 2013, according to statistics from the National Agricultural Export Board. By Peterson Tumwebaze,The New Times

Read More »

Why food prices are going up

Food prices have gone up in different parts of the country compared to the past few months. Rwanda’s main staple food (Irish potatoes) now goes for between Rwf200 and Rwf250 a kilogramme in most markets of the City of Kigali; Huye, Nyamata and Muhanga districts, up from Rwf150 over the past three months. Irish potatoes are, however, up marginally at Rwf160 in Gakenke, Kinigi, Vunga, Byangabo and Cyanika markets. Emmanuel Irambona, a produce supplier in Nyabugogo market, attributed the increase to poor Irish potatoes yields last season, saying farmers used bad seeds. Other traders attributed the rise to bad weather that affected crop production. Fresh peas cost about Rwf1,300 a kilo in Kimironko, Remera and Nyarugenge markets, from Rwf800, while beans are at Rwf700 a kilo gramme from Rwf600. A kilo of cassava flour costs Rwf500 and sweet potatoes cost Rwf250. A kilo of carrots is at Rwf500 in Remera, Nyabugogo and Kabuye markets, same as that of tomatoes. Passion fruits cost Rwf800 a kilogramme, down from Rwf1,000 last week, while bananas go for Rwf1,000 a kilo from Rwf500 a few weeks ago. A kilo of mangoes costs Rwf1,300 and pineapples go for between Rwf500 and Rwf1,000, depending on size. Beef costs Rwf2,000 a kilo, up from Rwf1,800 a fortnight ago. A kilo of fresh fish is at Rwf3,000 from Rwf2,400 last week, while a tray of eggs costs Rwf2,500 in Remera, Gikondo and Kicukiro markets. By Seraphine Habimana ,The New Times

Read More »

Uganda: 46 million Stanbic shares on demand

Stanbic Bank returned to the fore of activity, selling 1,064,500 shares on Tuesday with turnover of sh32m after trading ended at an average price of sh30 per share. This was 85% of the day’s total traded value. There, however, remains overwhelming demand on the Stanbic counter, reaching 45.6 million shares on Tuesday. Demand is rising by the week as the bank is close to announcing its annual results alongside all listed companies as part of statutory requirements. Investors have, according to analysts, positioned to cash in on the post announcement dividend, a situation which has driven up the demand, although current shareholders are reluctant to give away their positions, creating the price mismatch. The New Vision traded at a high of sh605 and realised turnover of sh396,275, with 655 shares traded. The all share index, which is a barometer that compares the trading, closed at 1383.72 points. Four companies traded on Tuesday.  Overall, 1,080,164 shares exchanged hands with turnover at sh37.6m. Umeme sold 14,500 shares, picking sh5.2m in turnover. The utility company traded at an average of sh365 per share. Uganda Clays sold 509 shares at an average price of sh25, with turnover at a low sh12,725. Banking remains attractive as listed banks maintain a steady level of liquidity in a market where liquidity has, to a large extent, dried up while trading volumes are quite low. Commercial banks are, however, still grappling with restoring the uptake of commercial loans that dried up and continues to recover slowly following the double digit inflation that peaked over 30% about two years ago. The inflation pushed up borrowing rates. Source The New Vision

Read More »

Mbabazi woos Europe’s largest coffee roaster

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has urged Europe’s largest coffee roaster, D.E. Master Blenders, to develop strategic relationships with coffee farmers in Uganda. PM Amama Mbabazi Mbabazi told the delegation from the coffee roasting giant that the Government has embarked on a programme to multiply the number of coffee trees in the country to increase productivity. He said this will reduce household poverty, adding that the Government is encouraging agricultural zoning for specialised agricultural production. Mbabazi made the remarks while meeting offi cials from D.E. Master Blenders at his offi ce in Kampala on Tuesday. D.E. Master Blenders, which has its headquarters in the Netherlands, is also the third largest coffee roaster globally. The company is already operating in Luwero district, focusing on quality improvement, good agricultural practices and improved market access for participating farmer groups. “I can assure you of total support to facilitate your partnership with farmers because our economy is private sectorled and I do not see this changing soon,” Mbabazi said. He said proceeds from the nascent oil industry will be used to boost agricultural production and value addition to enable Uganda products meet international standards. Coffee is an important export product for Uganda, representing about 11% of the total value of exports. Luc Volatier, D.E. Master Blenders senior vice-president for operations, who led the delegation, said Uganda could exploit the global market through the company, whose coffee and tea products are sold in over 45 countries. The company sales amount to euros 2.7b (about sh11,000 trillion). Volatier emphasised the need for benchmarking high-intensity small-holder coffee farms like it is done in Vietnam and farmer sensitisation and training, as well as offering microfinance support to farmers to eliminate middlemen who erode farmer profitability. Agriculture minister Tress Bucyanayandi said 65 out of the 112 districts are potential coffee growers. He added that the Government plans to double national production from 3.5 million to six million 60-kg bags of coffee per annum. In the early 1990s, Uganda coffee was hit hard by the wilt disease, which killed about 40% of the country’s coffee trees. Due to inadequate research, extension and availability of resistant plant materials, the disease is still prevalent, greatly reducing the productivity of coffee farms. Source The New Vision

Read More »

High Level Farmers’ Forum in Iringa towards successful African year of agriculture in Tanzania

2012 African Union Chairperson Thomas Yayi Boni declared that 2014 will be the Year of Agriculture in Africa. The next 12 months present a once in a decade opportunity to shape an African-led moment for agriculture development.  ONE launched a major agriculture campaign for Africa in January 2014 at the African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. At the 2003 African Union Summit held in Maputo, African heads of state pledged to transform Africa’s agriculture by committing to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture to 10% of national expenditure and increase national agriculture growth rate to 6% annually.  These commitments came as the result of the recognition that agriculture is a driver of economic growth and key to the revitalization of the agriculture sector.  Agriculture is effective in Africa because growth in agriculture reaps benefit to 65% of smallholder farmers, who are often among the most vulnerable and food insecure people.  These farmers in turn impact the rest of the continent, providing 80 percent of the food consumed. In collaboration with ANSAF the organization which won the ONE Africa award, Clouds media Group and ONE themselves will launch the Campaign “DO AGRIC IT PAYS” in Iringa Region on 20th February 2014 which will be officiated  by the Vice President Dr. Gharib Bilal. The campaign will target to create a consensus on a Tanzania context-specific year of agriculture investment and reform framework that benefits the millions of small holder farmers and small medium sized agri-businesses Identify the priority interventions required to boost small holder farmers and to develop the agriculture value chain in Tanzania’s Year of Agriculture programme of action. In Tanzania the sector as a whole provides an opportunity for us to encourage economic growth by lifting the most people out of poverty and by strengthening agricultural enterprises among smallholder farmers.  Indeed Tanzania’s smallholder farmers are its champions, providing food for over 90 percent of our population.  And added benefit of agriculture is that growth in this sector has a greater positive multiplier effect than in other sectors. The campaign, including a policy product documenting success in agriculture over the last decade; a policy manifesto delineating  policy objectives for the Year of Agriculture and a gender gap in agriculture report that provides recommendations to agriculture ministers on how to empower women farmers, utilizing the best new evidence of what works. The campaign will include both intensive insider advocacy and lobbying (particularly at the level of the African Union Commission and CAADP secretariat, as well as agriculture ministers and heads of states in our target countries, as well as public-facing, member-mobilizing and media-intensive actions, including celebrity involvement. The campaign will also mobilize members and engage directly with policymakers in these target countries through policy dialogues, workshops and targeted policy materials to advance policy reforms, improve public expenditures, and mobilize stronger nation.

Read More »

New 8.5MW solar plant to ease pressure on EWSA

Rwanda’s power generation will be increased by at least 8.5 mega watts (MW) by the end of this year, a development that will ease pressure on utility body, Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA). Technicians installing solar panels. Rwanda to get 8.5MW of power from a new solar plant being set up by private investors. Net photo.Technicians installing solar panels. Rwanda to get 8.5MW of power from a new solar plant being set up by private investors. Net photo. A solar-powered plant with a capacity of generating 8.5MW is currently under construction by a joint investment of Dutch Scatec Solar and Norwegian Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, worth $23.7m (Rwf16b) at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwamagana District. Once the project is completed towards the end of this year, the plant will sell electricity to the government as per the 25-year agreement between the investors and EWSA. “We expect the solar plant to be completed before the end of this year. The investors will sell a kilowatt hour at $16.5 to EWSA, which will then be channelled onto the national power grid,” James Twesigye, the in charge of solar energy at EWSA told The New Times yesterday. “The government is seeking for independent power producers in order to cut down the costs involved in producing electricity. This is the first of many to come. “We are currently doing studies on the construction of another 10MW solar plant in Rwinkwavu, Kayonza District. Once we complete the research, we shall invite potential investors.” The new plant is expected to be the first utility-scale PV plant in East Africa. The government is eager to invest more steadily in renewable energy, and has set itself the objective of a five-fold increase in renewable sources of power by 2017. Environmentalists welcomed the news as a step in the right direction, pointing at the benefits of clean energy to environment protection

Read More »

Scribes get tips on e-billing initiative

Business journalists have been challenged to learn how electronic billing machines work to be able to report accurately about them. All business people are required by law to issue customers e-receipts for items bought. “These machines will not only help in making tax collections efficient, but they are also useful to the taxpayer in terms of reducing paperwork in form of receipt books and minimising the risks of theft by employees,” Rwanda Revenue Authority’s Placide Kiboga, said during journalists’ training organised by the tax body. The training at Lemigo Hotel in Kigali aimed at equipping journalists with basic knowledge and skills on reporting about the project. Kiboga said that soon, all business people would start issuing receipts asking customers not to pay operators before they receive e-receipts. The tax body last month warned it will penalise businesses that do not have e-billing machines effective April 1. The tax body introduced the machines in 2012, but business operators have been slow in embracing them. By Ben Gasore,The New Times

Read More »