Zimbabwe coffee production declines

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

At its peak, Zimbabwe used to be the second largest coffee producer after Brazil.

Speaking to Post Business this week, administrator of the Zimbabwe Coffee Mill Mr Johane Jori said this year’s coffee yield had reduced by an estimated five 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 Mr Douglas Nzarayebani said coffee production had also suffered a significant decline in recent years owing to a shift by farmers to macadamia nuts and poor prices.

“Our country used to be the second largest coffee producer. Its hectarage has reduced from 2 000 ha to about 630 ha 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.

Mr Nzarayebani also said there was need to put in place 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.