I. Executive summary
1. The contribution of Africa’s coffees to the world coffee trade has significantly declined since the 1970s, falling from a total production of 22 million 60kg bags in 1970, which represented 30% of global production, to the 16 million 60kg bags produced currently, reflecting a 23% decline. The volume of exports from the continent fell from 17 million bags in 1970 to the current level of 12 million bags, representing a 28% decline in African coffees traded on the global market.
Its participation in the world coffee market has dropped from 32.4% in the 1970s to the current 9.9%. Likewise, the value of African coffees traded globally has fallen from US$3 billion in 1970s to the current US$ 1.8 billion in real terms. The quality has equally been affected over the same period.
As a consequence, the livelihoods of the resource-poor smallholder producers of the commodity in Africa have dwindled. Likewise, governments dependent on the commodity for their foreign exchange earnings and for its contribution to GDP have suffered the same fate.
Efforts by several partners, in particular countries, to revamp the sub-sector have not yielded the desired transformational effects due to the use of fragmented and non-holistic approaches. To reverse the above situation and re-establish coffee as a key source of livelihoods for resource-poor producers, and an anchor to the economies of coffee-dependent countries, the following minimum measures will have to be undertaken in the next 10 years:
The competitiveness of coffee vis-à-vis other on-farm activities must be improved.
Producers must be sensitised to have confidence in the economic benefits of being coffee farmers.
Young people and women must be empowered to participate in the coffee value chain on the continent beyond their traditional role of labour supply.
Domestic consumption must be increased.
The continent must be enabled to play a stabilising role in global markets.
Access to global markets must be improved.
2. Considering these points, this initiative is designed to achieve the following four broad objectives:
Building a sustainable regional coffee supply chain.
Building demand, market linkages and private sector investment and re-investment by producers.
Promoting climate-resilient and environmentally responsible practices.
Managing knowledge, disseminating information and lessons learned and building inclusive and equitable partnerships.
Realising these broad objectives will require the following to be undertaken through the consortium and/or by individual countries:
Promoting the sustainable production and supply of given coffee origins.
Branding and brand recognition within the international marketplace.
Leveraging private sector investment to support the sustainability of African coffee brands/origins.
Influencing policy to support climate-resilient production within coffee systems.
Repurposing statistics to demonstrate the economic viability of coffee production at smallholder level.
Providing an online real-time coffee advisory service to smallholder coffee producers.
Developing a living database of coffee farmers and farmers’ fields, which includes the soil health characteristics of each farm.
3 Establishing and promoting precision agriculture for coffee and associated crops.
Putting in place a high-impact extension system encompassing e-extension and a reduced farmer extension ratio.
Establishing inclusive and equitable partnerships that catalyse sustainability in production and access to rewarding markets.