Believe it or not, but politics can creep into something as simple and innocent as coffee production. Yes, this popular and expensive beverage Westerners can’t get enough of, draw the ire of activists who claim that Western coffee processors are exploiting African coffee bean farmers. On the surface it seems to be true.
The revenue of the global coffee industry is valued at $200 billion, but only 10% of this wealth stays in the producing countries on the equatorial belt in Africa, South America and Asia. This imbalance is actually due to the simple fact that Western countries took the huge gap in the value chain which has left open by the African coffee industry. Unfortunately, a coffee bean is a commodity and is not worth a lot.
It begs to be processed and to gain added value. Industrial coffee roasters in the West understood this fact and grabbed the opportunity. Almost all the raw beans are exported to these countries where they generate billions of dollars and gained the power to drive the prices down.
Due to insufficient management, logistics and infrastructure, African countries are missing out big time and this causes farmers to suffer, which evokes outrage among human rights activists. Zambian coffee farmers and the secondary processing industry have to realise that the depoliticization of coffee lies entirely in their own hands. Our farmers can take back the wealth and power locked up in their raw materials.
Coffee production in Zambia is very small, but the prospects are very favourable. According to industry experts, Zambia has the potential to produce 400 000 tonnes of coffee with an average value of US$1 billion every year. Coffee production can also create many jobs, because it is very labour intensive. As an added bonus, global coffee consumption increases by an average of 2% per year.
We don’t need to follow the same route as other developing countries. We just need to get off takers, roasteries, exporters and marketers on board to become an international coffee bastion, which will force desperate consumers to queue in long lines to buy our coffee.
In this edition, Jupidex shows us the revolutionary features on their new Vicon fertiliser spreader. Tiger Feeds and Novatek give crucial stock farming tips, while Seed Co does the same for crop farmers. Have a look at Reinke’s well-stocked warehouse and Bonnox’ compact and multipurpose Porta-Pen.
Du Preez de Villiers – firstname.lastname@example.org