Latest news about coffee and the coffee industry in Eastern Africa

From August 22nd to 24th, the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) conducted a quality control training session for exporters and producer cooperatives in Uganda. The training highlighted the benefits of the Taste of Harvest competition and auction protocols for developing, showcasing and exporting high-quality coffees from the East African region. The Taste of Harvest ambassador trainers stressed the importance of coffee export lead-time schedules, cupping standards and auction logistics processes.

“The training is so perfect in a way that it has given us the entire inside view of the Taste of Harvest experience and how it will work. There are extremely high chances that our specialty coffee will meet the market needs because of the skills gained in understanding the proper handling of specialty coffees. There is a clear structure and management system for all stakeholders and this provides the full package of transparency. There is need for continuous training on specialty coffees and marketing,” Dison Kareng, CEO Bros Coffee – Kapchorwa

With Hub support, AFCA is conducting training sessions around East Africa to ensure success for its Taste of Harvest auction. The Taste of Harvest auction and competition process provides East African smallholder producers with branding and marketing opportunities and the chance to access new markets for their small lots of high-quality coffee (5 to 50 bags). The Taste of Harvest Portal increases the visibility of winning African coffees to an international audience and provides a mechanism for sale to a wider range of buyers.


“Being a coffee producer and having been granted an opportunity by my company, gorilla summit coffee to attend this training means a lot and thanks to AFCA for such a tremendous effort. The training has contributed to my knowledge and understanding of how getting the best needs a lot of effort and more so a careful handling. The training has been a good measure of improving the quality of coffee as well as the prices. Meeting new people who know much more than I do has also been an eye opener and I have decided to learn more about cupping.” Ian Abigaba, Operations Manager, Gorilla Summit Coffee – Kanungu

By Martin Shabaya, Head Barista at Dormans and Artcaffe Coffee Shops and 5th placed barista at the 2017 Fushan Barista event in Hainan, Haikou, China. 

It’s always nice to be in the Fushan international Barista Cup to meet and make friends with passionate individuals who drive the quality and coffee culture forward like never before. Also we get to experience how other people from different parts of the world do their own coffees in the most modern and traditional ways in terms of cultivation, processing, roasting and etc.

To read more please visit Page 25 of our July – September 2017 Magazine Issue

By Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director, Uganda Coffee Development Authority.

Uganda is ranked as a top Commonwealth producer of coffee, the second largest African producer and seventh world producer. Coffee contributes about 30% of Uganda’s total export earnings. The country grows two types of coffee—Robusta and Arabica. The coffee yield is 700kg per hectare for traditional Robusta coffee, 2,500kg per hectare for clonal coffee and 600kg per hectare for Arabica coffee. Uganda produces an average of 4 million 60kg bags per year (80% Robusta and 20% Arabica). Robusta coffee is grown in low lands while Arabica coffee is grown in different highland areas of the country that is, on the slopes of Mount Elgon on the boarder of Kenya, on the slopes of the Mount Rwenzori on the border of DRC and in the west Nile region of the country.

There are currently, 1.7 million households in Uganda growing coffee. Of the 93 coffee growing districts 50 grow Robusta, 28 grow Arabica and 15 grow both with a potential for 324,000 ha of land area suitable for coffee production. Production has risen steadily since 2009/10 at 2.7 million 60kg bags to a high of 3.6 million bags in 2013/14. However, this declined in 2014/15 to 3.2 million bags before rising again to 3.5 million bags in 2015/16. The total annual volume of coffee exports for FY 2017/18 is projected at 3.9 million bags against a 2025 target of 20 million bags.

To read more please visit Page 28 to 30 of our July – September 2017 Magazine Issue

By Dr Kimemia Joseph, Senior Researcher, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO)

Coffee is one of the leading foreign exchange earners for the producing countries in the African continent accounting for approximately 11% of the world’s total production (Fig 1) and roughly $2 billion in annual revenues.

There over 25 African countries producing both arabica and robusta coffee. In fact Africa is the center of origin for both arabica and robusta coffee species. There is therefore a huge untapped genetic potential for development of new varieties to suit various biotic and abiotic issues.

Over the past 20 years coffee production in Africa has been relatively stagnant or declining. This poses a problem even to roasters dependent on African coffees. They may shift to other origins with the possibility of not including the African coffees in their blend. This decline could be attributed to the fact that over 50% of the coffee trees in Africa are over 50 years old, most of the varieties used by producers are not disease resistant, poor soil fertility management, little work  been done on development of high performing coffee varieties and there is inadequate human resource capacity in breeding and seedling multiplication.

To read more please visit Page 32 to 33 of our July – September 2017 Magazine Issue.

By Kambale Kamungele, Export Director, Ets Tsongo Kasereka

The DRC is a country endowed with a tropical climate, fertile soil, abundant water resources, which offers favorable conditions for the cultivation of co ee. Despite its immense potential, the country’s coffee production and export volumes have been declining for the last three decades. A new approach for revamping the coffee industry is needed, if the country is to continue respond to the challenges of the needs of the rural farmers in the midst of an increasing global coffee consumption.

In the DRC coffee is mostly produced by smallholders in mixed farms where it is intercropped with subsistence crops such as banana, beans, which ensure households’ food security. Many varieties of coffee are available in the country but two major species are grown for commercial purposes;

To read more please visit Page 22 t0 23 of our July – September 2017 Magazine Issue.

The First World Coffee Producers Forum met in the city of Medellin, Colombia, on July 12, 2017, and considering that: Profitability of coffee farming in many producing countries faces a critical situation, even going through periods of losses, due to different factors such
as: lower international coffee prices, which have dramatically deteriorated the coffee trade terms (reducing the purchasing power of coffee growers), low agricultural productivity, increasing production costs related to climate change and variability, and rising labor costs of production activities such as harvest.

  1. Lower profitability has led a significant percentage of coffee producers in the world
    to live in poverty, with deprivations in their quality of life (housing, utilities, delayed or poorly attended education, low access to health systems, etc.), and reduced ability to reinvest in their farms.
  2. Even if development of specialty coffee in the last decades has generated some premiums to producers, these have not been enough to o set the costs associated with certifications, and the analysis of value of the global coffee chain shows that the share reaching producers is very low, in contrast to that remaining in the hands of traders, roasting companies, and distributors to final consumers.

To read more please visit Page 26 to 27 of our July – September 2017 Magazine Issue.