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Rwanda Coffee Revenue Grew 84% to $5.9 Million in First Quarter

Rwandan coffee revenue surged 84 percent in the first quarter amid higher international prices and increased demand for the country’s beans, the National Agriculture Export Board said.

Earnings grew to $5.9 million in the three months through March from $3.2 billion Rwandan francs a year earlier, Celestin M. Gatarayiha, head of the coffee division at the Kigali-based board, said in a phone interview today in the Rwandan capital. He declined to comment on the reasons for the increase.

Last year, Rwanda earned a record $75 million from coffee exports, compared with $56 million a year earlier, amid higher international coffee prices and increased demand for Rwandan beans. The country relies on coffee and tea to generate 48 percent of its export earnings, according to the African Development Bank.

Revenue for the whole of 2012 is expected to total $157 million amid increased production, with output forecast to reach 34,000 tons for the full year, Gatarayiha said. He didn’t provide figures for 2011. Coffee production jumped 26 percent in the first quarter to 1,594 metric tons, he said.

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