Zambia’s coffee production for the 2017/2018 farming season will reach 2 300 tons. This is an increase of more 1 400 tons compared to last year. Zambia Coffee Growers Association (ZCGA) chief executive officer Joseph Taguma said the bulk of the projected output is from Northern Province.
“At the current world market price of US$1 102 per ton, the potential earnings are in excess of US$2.5 million,” Taguma said. He said Zambia’s agronomical practices enabled local farmers to offer the market around 35% of their production as specialist coffee products.
According to Taguma, the coffee sector required long-term financing for tree crops to capture the huge potential of exportable production. Several studies conducted by experts have found the potential for the growth of the coffee sector lies in Zambia’s production of the globally competitive Arabica coffee variety. Increasing global demand for specialty coffee in premium niche markets also enhanced the growth potential of the sector.
Taguma noted a wide range of constraints from production to policy issues which limit the growth of the coffee sector. “The most noteworthy factors are the long production period of the coffee plant which acts as a disincentive to invest in coffee production, a lack of research programmes, limited Zambian brand recognition and a lack of accessible and affordable financing for coffee growers,” he said.
He said sustainable growth and employment creation in the sector can be achieved through coherent strategies. This includes government working with the private sector to come up with innovative ways of providing affordable financing for farmers. He appealed to government to facilitate the development of technology and marketing strategies to ensure Zambian coffee fetches premium prices on the world market.
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