Thursday, January 14, 2010

Angola Did You Know 3: Coffee!

Angola at one time was the world's fourth-largest coffee producer. In 1975 and 1976, Angola produced almost one million bags (61,000 metric tonnes) of robusta coffee annually.  Continued warfare, which in particular devastated rural areas, led to the slow but steady collapse of the industry. By 1985, harvests were at only 189,000 bags - in 2004, numbers even dropped to 15,000 bags.

 “Angola's robusta (coffee) bean is the best robusta in the world,” Mayimona Romulo, an engineer from the National Coffee Institute stated.  “Angola has excellent conditions for growing coffee in terms of climate and rainfall and the ability to grow many robusta varieties."

At least 15,000 tonnes of coffee were harvested during the 2009 harvest year, which is considered a drop in the ocean compared to Africa's major coffee producers such as Ethiopia (4.50 million bags), Uganda (2.75 million bags) and Kenya (1.0 million bags), according to statistics from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO). World production is now around 120 million bags annually, with Brazil and Columbia being the leading exporters.

The Angolan government has started a pilot project for coffee production in the municipality of Amboim, in the Cuanza province, which is located just east of the capital, Luanda.  With a capital injection of over USD $8.5million,is serious about its intent "to re-launch the coffee sector in Angola."

For rural Angolans around the Amboim area, which were deeply impoverished by the long war, even current low prices of coffee means an important economic advance. The Angolan government has estimated that the Amboim coffee project will lift around 4,000 rural families in the region out of poverty, totalling approximately 30,000 people. (Adopted from Afrol News 2009)

No comments: