About half of the world’s specialty coffees are produced in the fine coffee belt of Africa, which stretches from Ethiopia through Zimbabwe and there is tremendous potential to produce more coffee and coffee of improved the quality. While the potential indeed exists, coffee from the region only constitutes about 10 – 15% of the world’s specialty coffee imports.
The African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) is a member-driven association of specialty coffee professionals from the entire coffee value chain (production, trade, export, import, retail, consumers, roasters, cafes and the allied coffee industry) from 11 chapters in the Eastern African region namely Burundi; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Our membership is continually growing and the association has already grown beyond the confines of Eastern Africa to include North America, Europe and Asia. Our membership is open and voluntary to all that share a passion for coffee from its origins to the cup.
At AFCA, we tap into the wonderful potential afforded by the fine coffees of Africa, providing market linkages for both buyers and sellers of fine coffees so that people around the world can enjoy and appreciate coffee from the source. Very special coffee from a very special part of the world!
We work in close collaboration with several international development partners and donors like the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC); the European Union (EU); International Coffee Organisation (ICO); USAID – COMPETE now Trade Hub East Africa Project, IDH, 4C Association, Solidaridad Eastern & Central Africa Expertise, HIVOs, Japan External Trade Organization and the World Bank (WB) to implement our numerous coffee sector development programs and activities in the Eastern African region.
During the 2013 period AFCA programs continued to be implemented during the period in question. Our flagship program the Taste of harvest saw an increase in the number of samples submitted and also registered an improvement in quality scores. DRC Congo Coffees Samples were also submitted and cupped for first time. We were also able to perfect and mainstream the TOH portal scoring system thus enabling quick dissemination of the TOH scores to the wider business community.
AFCA also participated in the Specialty Coffee of America and Europe Conference during which its members benefited greatly from key business meetings and networking.
We also engaged in trainings with the CFC project, coffee cupping and Barista. Trainings will be a key growth area and benefit for members going forward.
The conference in Uganda registered huge attendance numbers and growth in diversity of delegates. It has now become a must attend coffee event on the continent.
AFCA have also sought to improve the quality and content of the publications of our magazine which has received increased appreciation. The next phase will be to distribute it to our members in physical form as a benefit.
During this period held a strategic retreat to map out its direction till 2018 and increasingly lean towards providing key services to its membership.
Africa’s outlook for growth is positive and the secretariat will ensure that in meeting its 2014 – 2018 strategic objectives it will be able to leverage the growth of the African Coffee Industry.
Samuel N. Kamau