Is the era of “cheap” African coffee over?
The reason for the resurgence of coffee cultivation in the years 2022 and 2023, in countries like Uganda and Ethiopia, is due to the spread of awareness of the culture of “added value”; This indicated the end of the era of cheap African coffee, which was sold as raw beans in foreign markets, at a price around 75% lower than that of processed coffee.
Over the past two years, the trend of investing in coffee processing has increased, as local and foreign agricultural associations and investment groups have injected more than $900 million into coffee processing factories and facilities. in Ethiopia, Uganda and other East African countries.
Only a happy coincidence led the Ugandan coffee farmer, Nelson Tujum, to become one of the greatest inspirations of the economy of his country; After his foreign participation in one of the coffee exhibitions, he decided to improve the incomes of his fellow poor farmers by encouraging the establishment of factories to add value to coffee exports, which enabled his country to approach the goal of achieving annual revenues of $2.2 billion . , an increase of up to 60% over the previous year.
Within months, Togum succeeded in persuading thousands of farmers to form cooperative societies to improve the quality of production and processing of the coffee crop, which led to its prices doubling in foreign markets.
Given the decline in raw coffee prices on world markets over the past three years, the area under coffee cultivation has decreased by 20-30% in favor of other more profitable cash crops, but coffee processing associations coffee nearly doubled farmers’ incomes, due to high coffee prices The Processor in foreign markets, which led to an increase in cultivated areas by the end of 2022 of more than 40 percent.
Alongside these private sector-led investment efforts, governments in producing countries like Uganda are working to provide finance and appropriate terms to increase coffee production from four million bags weighing 60 kilograms to 20 million bags by 2030.
The government has also injected hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the coffee processing sector to achieve greater value addition.
Tunas Ajanga, who owns a small farm about 200 kilometers from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, told Sky News Arabia: “We have returned to coffee farming in recent years, after reducing the acreage in favor of other crops, which has given us greater The rough that we used to sell to traders, and what has encouraged us the most is the multiplication of processing facilities, which has almost doubled the prices of our coffee production, and it was no longer necessary to abandon the coffee culture.
According to unofficial data; Over 20 million people in Ethiopia and Uganda are employed in coffee production; However, a large percentage of them have switched over the past three years to growing qat, tobacco and other crops. before returning to the culture of coffee.
In recent times, there have been growing calls for government intervention to preserve coffee grounds, as this is a strategic sector for the Ethiopian economy.
Many experts believe that the increased use of modern technologies and the development of stimulating policies for farmers will help preserve coffee areas and increase production.
There is an urgent need to introduce a more scientific approach to reduce the risks facing coffee production, Samur Tsehai, a biotechnology researcher at Ethiopia’s Gandar University, told Sky News Arabia.
Cihai explained that among the most important interventions required are seed improvement work and training of farmers in the use of modern technologies for vertical expansion and increased production.
Arabica coffee is perhaps the one that benefits most from this new boom, having faced the risk of declining production due to the expansion of qat cultivation and tobacco, in around 20 percent of the total coffee-growing areas in Uganda, which is the largest coffee producer in Africa.
Ethiopia, which ranks fifth in the world in terms of coffee production, and is considered one of the largest countries in the world for Arabic coffee, accounting for 4.4% of global coffee production, with an estimated area at 4,000 square kilometers; Coffee accounts for 22% of the East African country’s total exports, amounting to around $5 billion a year.
African coffee production is gaining momentum as its markets recover, including the Emirates, European countries, the United States and a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
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