Acumen pursuing growth in Rwanda’s coffee industry - CNBC Africa

Acumen pursuing growth in Rwanda’s coffee industry

By: Nicole Cassandra Naidoo
Last Updated: 21 February 2014|14:35 GMT

Acumen’s investment in Rwandan coffee exporter, KZ Noir is expected to further develop the country’s coffee industry.

KZ Noir is a Rwanda based speciality coffee producer. PHOTO: Getty Images

“This is exciting for Rwanda for one main reason – Rwandan coffee is already world-famous. The fact that they’re providing market access to international buyers [means that] Rwandan coffee remains at the top of mind of a lot of buyers and consumers in the world,” Acumen East Africa’s business development manager, Kenneth Macharia, told CNBC Africa.    

“Our investment is going to help them scale up their business to be able to reach more farmers but also to produce more coffee and to be able to export more coffee.”

Acumen, a global venture fund, recently made a 1.2 million-dollar convertible debt investment in the Rwanda based speciality coffee producer.

“Acumen is really excited by this 1.2 million dollar investment in KZ Noir. One of the main reasons is that in Rwanda, coffee is one of the main sources of foreign exchange – it accounts for about 45 per cent of export revenues and 20 per cent of the Rwandan population depends on coffee,” Macharia said.

“KZ Noir has been quite invested in this sector – since 2008 the price of coffee has dropped quite significantly and that has affected the livelihood of farmers. They do a lot of outreach to support farmers with training on how to grow better coffee beans and that has a huge impact in terms of the quality of the coffee that’s produced.”

Macharia also emphasised KZ Noir’s ability to be able to provide market access into international markets for the farmers.

“KZ Noir has been quite successful in terms of recruiting farmers that want to supply them with coffee. What’s exciting about that is that there’s a lot of support that’s going to training the farmers and that enables the farmers to feel that the company’s supportive of them. In addition to that, the ability for them to have a steady income over a long-term period – that’s very important for them,” he said.

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