KAMPALA — Inter- African Coffee Organisation (IACO), an umbrella association of 25 coffee producing African countries have signed the Nairobi Declaration to have coffee anchored as a strategic commodity under the African Union in harmony with AU agenda 2063.
The ongoing Summit is being held under the theme “Sustainable Development and Economic Growth in the African Coffee Sector”.
The African coffee producing countries consequently requested the African Union (AU) to adopt Coffee as strategic Agricultural Commodity in harmony with the Africa Agenda 2063.
According to the G25 African Coffee Summit Nairobi Declaration on the adoption of coffee as a strategic Agricultural Commodity in the AU Agenda 2063 signed off by Peter Munya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives (represented Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta) and Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s Agriculture Minister, who represented Chairman of the Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO) 2021/2022, the adoption of coffee as a strategic commodity in the AU will give Africa the leverage to address the challenges faced by the coffee farmers and other actors across the value chain under the auspices of the African Union to build a united and integrated Africa.
The G25 African Coffee Summit also requested “The AU Commission to urgently develop an evaluation framework to track down the socio-economic impact on coffee farmers in relation to alleviating poverty and enact the AfCFTA to facilitate cooperation between African countries to encourage inter-African trade to explore the untapped coffee markets within Africa.”
The Summit also resolved to support production and research, enhance transparency and traceability of origins; encourage youth employment and empower the role of women; allocate more land for coffee production; incentivize farmers; support coffee research; offer technical assistance to farmers.
They also resolved to enhance access to finance through government-backed schemes, African Coffee Facility Fund with support from African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim bank), the African Development Bank and the AU.
They also agreed to address value addition and domestic consumption by opening up domestic markets and share knowledge on the health benefits of coffee and investment in value addition infrastructure.
The Summit also undertook to organize the G25 African Coffee Summit in Kampala, Uganda in 2023.
Coffee with a global annual value of $465bn, ranks as the world’s second largest traded commodity after oil and is the most important agricultural commodity.
The African continent is considered as the birthplace of both Arabica and Robusta coffee.
The Summit is also concerned that while Africa produces some of the finest coffees in the world, the production figures are relatively low.
“Further, while global demand has been growing at approximately 2% annually over the last 20 years, the African coffee sector has considerable disadvantage due to lack of processing plants to add value and has, therefore, remained a green bean exporter for many decades.
The lack of value addition is one of the contributory factors to the incredibly low domestic consumption rate amongst African countries,” the 25th May 2022 Nairobi Declaration reads in part.
The Summit further recognized the important role coffee plays in alleviating poverty for 60m people in Africa that are directly dependent on it for their livelihood and 53% of those in the agricultural sector who grow coffee to generate substantial foreign exchange.
The G25 African Coffee Summit also reaffirmed that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will provide a key avenue for the 25 African coffee producers to trade with other African Union member countries. “Inter-alia, the shift in digitalization will facilitate transparency and traceability of the origin of African coffees which will enhance the transformation of the African coffee value chain. Under the AU’s Agricultural mandate, that could become an important catalyst in poverty reduction in coffee producing economies,” the Declaration further reads.
The Summit also underscored the impending threat of climate change which will have a profound impact on vast land becoming unsuitable for growing coffee, the need to assist farmers with technical assistance to reduce the spread of costly coffee diseases and pests, the urgency to create youth employment and empower the role of women in coffee sector.