AFRICA– Africa accounts for about 12% of the world’s coffee production and the high-quality and taste of coffee from the continent are loved by coffee connoisseurs worldwide.

Despite of this, coffee consumption in the region has not been felt when compared to the others as it consumes very little of what it produces with most of it exported to the global markets.

To this end the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) is seeking to change the narrative with a US$950 million African Coffee Facility with the support of Afreximbank.

The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the International Coffee Organization (ICO) are also partners in the project.

The facility is to support various coffee projects in Africa, including research and promotion of coffee consumption, reports Ghana News Agency.

The ICO predicts a pandemic-related loss of export earnings in the continent to be between US$100 million to US$200 million this year.

Dr Frederick Kawuma, the Secretary-General of IACO, made this known when the Ghana Cocoa Board launched the 60th edition of IACO 2020 General Assembly and Associated Meetings, virtually in Accra.

Kawuma said IACO was ready to support the industry to make sure that Africa was not left behind and urged entrepreneurs who wanted to venture into the coffee sector to take advantage of the facility.

IACO is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the 25 African coffee-producing countries with its headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Recently, IACO, ICO and CABI further joined forces to formulate a €12 million (US$14.2 million) plan to alleviate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the continent.

The three-year intervention program focused on 11 coffee-producing countries has been designed to help shore up food systems for the benefit of small-scale coffee farmers throughout Africa who have suffered from a prolonged period of low coffee prices that has been exacerbated by infrastructure and market shutdowns tied to the pandemic.

According to the three organizations, approximately US$11.4 million of the project cost is expected to be covered by grants from development partners, while US$2.8 million is expected to come from recipient countries.

The COVID-19 response plan not only seeks to boost exports of coffee as a cash crop throughout the continent, but to promote the addition of other crops for cash and for consumption to reduce food insecurity for small-scale farmers and their agricultural communities.

The ICO is currently predicting a pandemic-related loss of export earnings throughout the coffee-producing countries on the continent to be between US$100 million to US$200 million this year.

Coffee is a primary source of income for more than 12 million households in Africa and contributes a significant proportion of tax income in a number of these countries.

The largest annual export value of African countries is recorded by Ethiopia at an average of US$762.8m annually, followed by Uganda (US$468.4m), Kenya (US$229.5m) and Tanzania (US$129.2m).

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