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KIGALI – Rwanda's coffee export revenues increased to more than 69 million U.S. dollars in 2018 from around 64 million U.S. dollars the previous year, the National Agricultural Exports Board said Wednesday. 

"We have seen an increase in coffee export revenues year by year and this is all attributed to our government's efforts to raise the quality of coffee exports, whereby about 60 percent of the coffees that we export are speciality coffees," said Bill Kayonga, chief executive of the board, at the 17th African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition in the Rwandan capital Kigali. 

As part of the efforts to raise the quality of coffee produce in Rwanda, the government has increased the number of coffee washing stations to 300 from 50 that were available 10 years ago, Kayonga said. 

Coffee is Rwanda's leading export crop and has contributed an average of 24 percent to total agricultural exports over the last decade, according to him. Rwanda's specialty coffee production rate moved from almost zero in 2000 to 58 percent in 2017 and is projected to grow to 80 percent of total coffee produce by 2020, he said. 

The annual conference that runs through Friday brings together more than 600 delegates including 65 exhibitors from all across Africa and beyond to discuss ways to raise the quality and competitiveness of coffee produced in Africa. 

As Africa's largest coffee trade platform, it brings over 1,000 regional and international coffee roasters, traders, producers, professionals and connoisseurs under one roof, according to organizers. 

Its member countries include Cameroon, Burundi, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Rwanda. 

XINHUA