American actress Grace Hightower De Niro (L) with Rwanda’s agriculture minister Dr. Agnes Kalibata(Middle) in Kigali
American actress and Philanthropist Grace Hightower De Niro has announced plans to continue promoting and marketing Rwanda’s high quality coffee to the international market for local farmers’ benefits.
De Niro, owns a company called Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda—humanitarian-based coffee venture that is committed to market Rwanda’s high-quality coffee worldwide.
She made the remarks while attending a two-day conference dubbed “Let’s Talk Coffee conference” in Kigali on February 17, 2014.
During her discussions with Rwanda’s agriculture minister Dr. Agnes Kalibata the duo looked at the potential of Rwanda’s high-quality coffee on the international market, and how to promote and market it in order to benefit the coffee farmers.
They also discussed ways of building the capacity of coffee farmers to further improve their quality in a sustainable manner.
The discussions explored partnership with the ministry to sustain Rwanda’s coffee quality brand.
Hightower plans to open a coffee shop in Rwanda and intends to use it to demonstrate to coffee farmers the different quality aspects of coffee—good quality coffee beans, different types of coffee brewing, and how to make coffee disserts.
This will be done in an effort to make farmers taste and consume coffee for them to recognize and appreciate the quality of coffee they produce.
Hightower has been selling Rwanda’s coffee to about 40 suppliers in the USA for about 2 years.
She also plans to expand the market and open new shops in Shanghai China and in Japan.
In an effort to help improve the livelihoods of more Rwandans, Hightower ventured into Rwanda coffee, as a symbol of hope for the country, as well as a path to economic empowerment.
The philanthropist has dedicated her activities in Rwanda to supporting women involved in coffee farming by empowering them with the opportunity to market their unique products to the world.
Minister Kalibata assured Mrs. Hightower the ministry’s full support insuring that the coffee farmers she is working with provide her with sufficient high-quality coffee.
In 2013, coffee earnings surged to $11.5 million in the three months through March from $4.9 million a year earlier. Average prices climbed to $3.13 a kilogram (2.2 pounds) from $2.58 previously according to the National Agricultural Export Board.
In Rwanda, coffee remains among the leading export revenue earners, representing 24% of the country’s total export in 2010.