Coffee farmers are not as happy as other players along the value chain because they are getting a modest share of revenues, experts in the industry have agreed.
This, they say, only spells negative consequences to the sector, if it remains unchecked.
“As we are here, traders, roasters and exporters, we have smiles on our faces. I would love to see similar smiles on the faces of the farmers. And that can only happen if the farmer gets the right price for his or her coffee,” said Ishak Lukenge, Chairman of Board at African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA).
Lukenge – who has experience in coffee farming, roasting and exporting – together with other experts, were speaking during the just-concluded African Fine Coffee Conference & Exhibition held in Kigali last week.
Considered Africa’s largest coffee trade platform, the event attracted about 1,500 participants from 32 countries, including coffee producers, exporters, roasters, policymakers and buyers from around Africa, the Americas, Europe, among other parts of the world.
Millions of farmers in Africa are behind the continent’s annual coffee production, which the International Coffee Organization (ICO) estimated at around 17 million bags with 60 kilogrammes each, or over a million tonnes.
On average, the price of coffee at international market is between $2 and $5 depending on quality, but, farmers get only about a third of a dollar for a kilogramme of their coffee cherries, according to market estimates.
Lukenge said that the purpose of conferences like that “is to make sure that we discuss and find solutions and to look for tools and means of addressing the issue affecting the whole value chain.”
Farmers’ efforts, he said, should be rewarded accordingly, such as when they produce the best coffee or organic coffee.