African coffee: Frederic Kawuma Secretary General Inter-African coffee organization (IACO)
“Coffee in Africa is still providing livelihoods of millions estimations of about 11 million households…there are more than 20 million people involved in the coffee sector of the Ethiopian economy”
During his visit in Cameroon he was received in audience by the Minister of Commerce Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana. They discussed on the next General Assembly of the Organization, and also about the problem’s face by African producing countries.
Trade & Trade: What was the main issue discussed in Cameroon with the Minister of Commerce on March 2016?
Frederic Kawuma: We discussed on the next general Assembly of our organization to be organize this November in Cameroon, also concerned the question of station service in Africa wich has collapsed, it is a question of priority ,what the government can do is an investment(increasing imports, productivity, enhance rural development). Whith a Minister of Commerce who is also responsible of coffee sector in the country as in others African countries, we have Ministers of Commerce or the one of Agriculture responsible of coffee sector. Here in Cameroon on next November Government is preparing to host the annual meetings of the inter-African coffee organization ,we have a scientific Conference which is a Conference on coffee science, the coffee symposium which discussed issues like marketing, cofee production and policy issues affecting coffee in Africa, the General Assembly of the IACO. Specific recommendations would come out to the general Assembly; we would also have a resolution on how to address the issue of extension of station service.
Trade & Trade: May you present your organization?
Frederic Kawuma: The inter-coffee organization is and inter-government or which was set up 1960 by the heads of governments of the coffee producing countries so, the OIAC is older than the OAU the predecessor of AU it was established at the time when the African government at that time newly independent was looking for ways to promote the coffee sector in Africa because coffee was then one of the most important honor of foreign exchange for the African countries. coffee is still very important in Africa because it is providing livelihoods of millions estimations of about 11 million households by the international coffee organization which has done a study on sustainability of coffee in Africa but the other statistics that tell us that they are more than 20 million people who are involved in the coffee sector of the Ethiopian economy. Coffee is still very important in a particularly in African countries where the earnings in terms of foreign exchanges are well in excess of 10 % of the national earnings: these are Ethiopia, Burundi and Uganda ,other countries where coffee is still very important for their economies is Tanzania ,Kenya ,Cameroon, Ivory Coast, although Cameroon and Ivory Coast has most diversify economy so that the coffee contribution on the economy is not as significant in Uganda ,but Uganda now is a leading exporter of coffee in Africa, followed by Ethiopia although Ethiopia is a bigger producer, Ethiopia produces about 8 million bags of coffee and they consume about half of this and they export the other half ,Uganda doesn’t consume that much that is why it leads Ethiopia in terms of exports but we now that Ethiopia is the biggest producer, Ivory Coast used to be the biggest producer in Africa until the crisis that we all know about ,and he production gone done significantly but we now that coffees contribution in term of economy of these countries is very significant because of their rural impact. We have a rural economy, whatever people are growing coffee contribute a lot to the family welfare and coffee I growing alongside food crops and it provides incomes which is assured ,when you plan beans, maize every here ,you have to keep planting .coffee has a challenge of fluctuating prices all the time because of demand in international markets. We are asking ourselves as African what can we do to stabilize the earnings of the producers, one of the ways is to see how more values can be added to coffee so that the prices received by farmers is bigger, now ,the prices received it is a bit small for most of our farmers .it is bought to him and taken to Europe for processing and a price you pay for cup of coffee there in a restaurant is very high.