Zim farmers put down the coffee for macadamia nuts

Coffee production in the country has gone down from last year owing to poor prices and a shift by farmers to macadamia nut production, industry officials have said.

Zimbabwe Coffee Mill administrator Johane Jori said this year’s coffee yield had gone down by at least four tonnes.

“Last year we had 32 tonnes from about 181 small scale farmers and this year our yield was reduced to 28 tonnes,” he said.

Agritex extension officer Douglas Nzarayebani said coffee production had suffered a decline in recent years owing to a shift by farmers to macadamia nuts and poor prices.

“Hectarage has been reduced from 2 000 hectares to about 630ha only. Output gradually fell as farmers shunned coffee production due to low prices. The middlemen would buy it at a low price and this contributed to the decline in production, and many started to opt for macadamia nuts production,” he said.

Nzarayebani also said the industry needs an aggressive policy to encourage local consumption of locally produced coffee in order to improve its production.

“The fact that coffee is not under the Command Agriculture programme means that there is need for capital to ensure an increase in its production. We can invest in research but if there is no capital, the story remains unchanged. If farmers were fully supported starting locally then its production would also increase,” he said.

Zimbabwe produces Arabic coffee, which is grown mostly in the Eastern Highlands districts of Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutare and Mutasa.

Nestle lift

In 2018, Nespresso, the coffee unit of Nestlé, announced a plan to revive Zimbabwean coffee by buying crops from a group of small scale farmers at a premium of up to 40% on the international prices.

“The reason for us being in Zimbabwe is the incredible coffee profiles, something that we really want to offer to our consumers. And being here in Zimbabwe is very important for us to work with small holder farmers as well as with the estates,” said Daniel Weston, Nestle Nespresso head of legal and corporate communications said earlier this year.

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