The Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO) has joined forces with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the International Coffee Organization (ICO) to launch the USD 950 million ‘Africa Coffee Facility.’
The ACF is projected to transform and boost Africa’s coffee industry to achieve a 40 percent increase in high- quality exports worth USD five billion a year.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Irrigation Principal Secretary (PS), Harry Kimtai said, “We need to build the capacity of our smallholder producers as well as revamp our producer organizations, empower women and the youth through entrepreneurship development. This includes a value chain transformation from subsistence to an entrepreneurial orientation among our farmers.”
The IACO Secretary General, Dr. Fred Kawuma said that Africa produces some of the highest-quality and much loved coffee in the world but its contribution to the global coffee trade has declined significantly since the 1970 when nearly a third of all coffee was produced on the continent.
“The ACF is an ambitious fund which seeks to attract private and public sector investments to transform Africa’s coffee industry from subsistence to a commercial or entrepreneurial approach where millions of smallholder coffee farmers will see their livelihoods significantly enhanced,” Kawuma added.
The ICO Chief Economist, Dr. Denis Seudieu noted that although many initiatives have been taken in some countries, many challenges still hamper the achievements of a sustainable coffee sector in Africa.
“However, there’s opportunity to move the African coffee sector from subsistence to an income generation and a long term security of their livelihoods. Part of the ACF’s mission is looking at ways to improve the quality of Africa’s coffee free from crop pest and diseases, making it safe to consumers an area in which CABI specializes,” Seudieu stated.
By Collins Juma/ Joseph Ng’ang’a