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March 08, 2011

Zambia plans to revive its largest coffee producer

by Chris Mfula

Zambia plans to resume output at its largest coffee producer, which was closed in 2008 after it defaulted on loan repayments, a senior government official has said.

President Rupiah Banda was set to commission the Northern Coffee Corporation, formerly known as Kasama Coffee Company, which produced one-third of Zambia's 6,000 tonnes of coffee at peak in 2004, his press aide Dickson Jere said.

Zambia's 2010 coffee output declined to 1,250 tonnes from 1,643 tonnes the previous year due to farm closures caused by lack of affordable long-term finance, official data from the Zambia Coffee Growers Association (ZCGA) shows.

The re-launch of the coffee company, which was placed under receivership by some commercial banks it owed money, would immediately create about 300 jobs, Jere said.

"The Zambia Development Agency, utilizing the Trade and Industrial Development Fund, worked with the receiver and the two banks to formulate a rescue plan which was accepted by the government," Jere said.

Zambia does not grow coffee on a large scale like Ethiopia and Kenya, but its coffee is sought by buyers in Japan, the United States and Europe. Its washed arabicas, including the premier Triple A brand coffee are mainly shipped to Japan.

Reuters

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