A new initiative has been launched that aims to reinvigorate coffee production in Africa.
The Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO) has joined forces with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the International Coffee Organization (ICO) to launch the US$950 million ‘Africa Coffee Facility’ (ACF), which aims to boost Africa’s coffee industry and achieve a 40 per cent increase in exports, which could be worth US$5 billion a year.
The aim of the ACF is to transform Africa’s coffee production – which currently only accounts for 10 per cent of the global coffee market – into a vibrant and resilient industry.
Coffee is a primary source of income for more than 12 million households in Africa and contributes a significant proportion of tax income in a number of these countries. The largest annual export value of African countries is recorded by Ethiopia at US$762.8 million annually, followed by Uganda (US$468.4 million), Kenya (US$229.5 million) and Tanzania (US$129.2 million).
Speaking a launch event for the ACF, Kenya’s Permanent Secretary Mr Harry Kimtai, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries said, “We need to build the capacity of our smallholder producers as well as revamp our producer organizations, empower women and the youth through entrepreneurship development. This includes a value chain transformation from a subsistence to an entrepreneurial orientation among our farmers.”
This year the Government of Kenya allocated 3 billion Kenya Shillings (US$30 million) towards supporting coffee producers.
Dr Fred Kawuma (shown here), Secretary General of the IACO said, “Africa produces some of the highest-quality and most-loved coffees in the world but its contribution to global coffee trade has declined significantly since the 1970s when nearly a third of all coffee was produced on the continent.
“The ACF is an ambitious fund which seeks to attract private and public sector investment to transform Africa’s coffee industry from a subsistence to a commercial or entrepreneurial approach where millions of smallholder coffee farms will see their livelihoods significantly enhanced.”
A donors and partners conference held under the theme ‘financing the African coffee value chain through the Africa Coffee Facility’ has already taken place and was attended by development partners, bilateral donors, banks, foundations, private sector and the coffee farming community amongst other stakeholders.
It is anticipated that the ACF, which will be hosted by Afreximbank, will also develop and promote domestic consumption of coffee set against the challenges of climate change and the need to empower more younger farmers and women into the sector.
Key aims of the ACF over its 10-year tenure will be to invest US$500 million building a sustainable coffee supply, US$100 million improving demand, market linkages and investments, US$200 million putting in place climate change adaptation and environmentally resilient practices and US$150 million promoting knowledge management and dissemination.
Partners and potential donors at the forum heard how Africa’s coffee value chain must see vast improvements in production and cooperative systems, many of which have either deteriorated or collapsed, in order to compete in the global marketplace.
Dr Denis Seudieu, Chief Economist, the International Coffee Organization said, “Although many initiatives have been taken in some countries, many challenges still hamper the achievement of a sustainable coffee sector in Africa. However, there is an opportunity to move the African coffee sector from a subsistence to an entrepreneurial one. This will enable our farmers to have sustainable income generation and a long-term security of their livelihoods.”
Part of the ACF’s mission is to help keep African coffee free from crop pests and diseases. Dr Morris Akiri, Regional Director, CABI Africa said, “CABI is delighted to be working in partnership to help create an African coffee industry which is resilient to climate change and strong enough to compete and succeed in a highly competitive and often volatile global market.”
He added that the organization will not only work to help put the latest knowledge and skills on coffee pest management into farmers’ hands in the field but also to disseminate information, skills and best practice along all points of the coffee value chain.