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February 22, 2009

Africa planning to increase coffee output to meet rising demand

by Fred Ojambo

African coffee producers plan to boost output during the next five years to meet increased global consumption, said Josefa Sacko, secretary general of the Inter Africa Coffee Organization, which represents 25 of the continent’s largest coffee producing nations. The global coffee deficit could rise to 20 million 60- kilogram (132-pound) bags by 2020 if output isn’t increased, she said in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, on Feb. 14.

Global coffee consumption is growing by as much as 2.5 million 60-kilogram bags a year on increased demand from Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia, Nestor Osorio, executive director of the International Coffee Organization, said Feb. 12. World consumption this year may rise to 130 million bags from 128 million bags in 2008, resulting in a deficit of between 6 million and 8 million bags, he said.

“We have to increase production because the market is so positive,” said Sacko. Africa, which in the 1980s supplied 35 percent of the world’s beans, now accounts for about 12 percent of global supply, she said.

In Ethiopia, the continent’s largest producer, the government is investing to boost production from about 300,000 metric tons a year, said Hailu Gebre Hiwot, managing director of Addis Ababa-based buyer Haicof Ltd. With more than half the nation’s output consumed locally, the move is designed to increase export earnings, said Hiwot, who is also a former chairman of the Ethiopian Coffee Growers Association.

Ethiopian production fell about 14 percent last year to 302,290 tons after drought affected the southern Sidama and Gedeo regions, the Agriculture Ministry said Dec. 19.

Uganda, the continent’s second-biggest, plans to raise output to 4.5 million bags by 2015, from 3.5 million bags last year, through wider replanting, according to the state-run Uganda Coffee Development Authority. “Our emphasis is on the distribution of high-yielding varieties to boost the incomes of our farmers,” said James Kizito Mayanja, the principal market analyst at the authority. “We have an advantage of lower production costs compared to other countries.”

Tanzania plans to raise output to 96,000 tons in the year to June 20, 2013, from the 58,000 tons expected this season, said Adolph Kumburu, director general of the state-run Tanzania Coffee Board.

Angola, once the world’s fourth-largest exporter, aims to increase production 10-fold to 50,000 tons a year during the next five years, said Sacko, who is an Angolan citizen.
The West African country last year distributed 8 million seedlings in one of its five coffee growing regions and gave each farmer $550 to help with costs, she said.

Kenya, meanwhile, plans to raise output 67 percent to 100,000 tons by 2014, according to Bernard Gichovi, technical manager at the state-run Coffee Board of Kenya said.
The agency is encouraging farmers to use manure in an effort to cut production costs, he said.

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