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Low coffee consumption in Africa affects coffee sector

Stakeholders in the coffee sector have raised concerns over low consumption of coffee in Africa despite being the second populous continent.

The stakeholders attending the first G25 African Coffee summit that ended on Friday in Nairobi noted that despite producing 12 per cent of the global coffee, only 30 per cent of the population consumes the product.

They said that it is time for Africa to step up, unite regionally and create a vibrant environment for promoting consumption of coffee.

Benson Apuoyo, deputy director at the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) in Kenya noted that the global coffee consumption continues to rise due to demand but unfortunately there is no growth in Africa.

“It is crucial to accelerate domestic consumption of coffee in the untapped markets in Africa for the general socio-economic development,” Apuoyo said during summit.

He said that it is time to start consuming coffee adding that over 95 per cent of Kenyan coffee is exported to the international market.

The AFA official revealed that Kenya has started promoting consumption by opening up coffee houses at two universities.

Apuoyo said that so far, AFA is also negotiating with five more universities as champions so that other institutions can also join.

He revealed that to date there are 506 coffee shops operating throughout the country and that there are plans to open more.

According to Adugna Debele, Director-General of Ethiopia Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA), Africa consumes 9,800 metric tons while Europe consumes 55,625 metric tons annually.

Debele said that coffee consumption in Ethiopia has been stuck at 50 per cent for the past two decades, meaning the younger generation are not consuming it.

The director-general urged governments to initiate innovative ways to make coffee appeal to populations to boost income for the countries and better livelihoods for farmers.

Debele observed that there is a need to increase domestic coffee consumption by inducting the younger generation.

He said that Ethiopia has established a college where students are taught how to roast, grind and pack coffee.

Solomon Rutega, Secretary-General of the Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO) revealed that the organization is concerned about the low rate of consumption and has launched inter Africa training on roasters.

Rutega added that IACO is bringing women and youths in coffee industry to help popularize consumption in the continent.

Delegates at the summit called for the introduction of mobile coffee clinics in the countryside to promote consumption amongst populations.

Over 500 delegates from 25 African coffee growing countries are currently meeting in Nairobi at the first African coffee summit to re-evaluate the overall performance of the coffee sector in the continent, with coffee experts urging African nations to improve infrastructure for easier sale of coffee.

By Catherine Muindi

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