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February 21, 2011

Japan to buy more African coffee

by Fred Ojambo

Japan plans to buy more coffee outside its traditional African markets in an effort to broaden cooperation with producers on the continent, the state-run Japan External Trade Organization said.

The world’s third-biggest economy wants to increase purchases from Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and Cameroon, Toyokazu Fukuyama, an official at the organization known as Jetro, said in an interview at a coffee conference yesterday in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

Japan’s traditional sources of coffee on the continent are Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, Fukuyama said. Brazil, Costa Rica and Jamaica are the country’s other main suppliers, he said.

“As part of cooperation with African countries we want to venture into new markets for coffee,” he said. “We have started and we want to build on the small level from these countries.”

Japan consumes 84,000 metric tons of coffee annually, with per capita consumption at 1.7 kilograms (3.75 pounds), according to the International Coffee Organization’s website. Africa accounts for 12 percent of global output of the beans, according to the InterAfrican Coffee Organization, which represents 25 of the continent’s largest producers.

Jetro started seminars for Japanese coffee buyers to promote non-traditional markets as a source of beans, though volumes of purchases have yet to be determined, Fukuyama said.


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