Scaling-up Coffee Production: Domestic Consumption As Recourse
The fourth African Coffee Symposium and 56th Annual General Assembly of the Inter-state African Coffee Organisation opened in Yaounde yesterday.
Delegates to the 4th African Coffee Symposium, IACO, and the 56th Annual General Assembly from 25 member countries have stated inter-alia that the urge to promote the domestic consumption of coffee, sequel to volatile world prices, was pressing. Experts argue that the inability of local farmers to provide coffee required by emerging markets in Africa accounts for the increase in imported coffee in local super markets. This trend can be reversed if farmers upgrade coffee roasting skills to improve quality. The Secretary General of the IACO, Frederick S.M Kawuma, said Africans were capable of roasting and packaging coffee for local consumption and export if they took the commitment.
Cameroon’s Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, who is also the Chair of the IACO, stressed that the challenge can only be overcome when productivity increases. He cited measures like research on high-yield seeds, regeneration of farms and farmers and the monitoring and management of markets/prices as indispensable for reviving the sector. Minister Mbarga Atangana disclosed that efforts to increase productivity, research on high-yield seeds and financial resources were intensifying. The role of women and youth in the value chain is now considered as asset for the continent’s long-term sustainability in the coffee sector.
Bringing them on board the production chain is now a priority, with the Minister of Trade stating that the sector will not blossom if this is not done. The Minister of State, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, Bello Bouba Maïgari, on behalf of Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, said Cameroon’s strategy hinges on re-launching the sector. The mechanism is expected to inspire other countries as the continent seeks to improve production, increase consumption and demand, and therefore enhance earnings from coffee.
Reduced earnings from the sector have resulted in reduced investments, further worsening the industry’s decline. Currently, Africa’s share of global coffee production has plummeted to mere 12 per cent, with its share of exports declining to 9.8 per cent. The Yaounde Coffee Symposium that ends on December 3, 2016, harps on “Inclusive Value Chain Transformation in the African Coffee Industry.” Experts amongst other issues are seeking ways of changing the industry from subsistence to entrepreneurial one.