ICO: Climate change, population increase causing low coffee production

Coffee beans

International Coffee Organisation (ICO) has blamed low coffee production on climate change and population increase.

Jose Sette, ICO’s executive director said that the sub sector has in recent past suffered from adverse climate change and the increasing population that is also competing with land usage.

“We urge farmers and other players in the sub sector to adopt efficient production techniques to help improve production,’’ Sette said during a panel on coffee sustainability at the five-day International Coffee Council in Nairobi.

Sette said that ICO has laid down plans to help stakeholders towards ensuring that they engage in efficient production of coffee globally.

Kenya’s coffee production has been declining since the late 1980s when annual output hit 129,000 metric tons.

The report says the east Africa nation accounts for less than one per cent of global coffee output however its Arabica variety is highly sought after to blend with coffee from other regions.

Joseph Kieyah, chairman of Kenya Coffee Subsector Implementation Committee said the government in conjunction with other value chain players is pursuing bold measures mainly focusing on taming challenges facing farmers.

Kieyah noted that based on current measures being fast tracked; output is expected to increase by over 100 per cent by 2022.

“In the next three years our focus is geared towards implementing a subsidy programme targeting to provide cheap fertilizer to the farmers.

“We will also enhance extension services and providing climate smart coffee varieties,’’ Kieyah added.

He said that there are plans to increase productivity to about 10 kilogramme from the current 2 kilogramme per coffee tree.

The government had allocated coffee farmers one billion shillings (10 million dollars) in 2018 to enable farmers purchase subsidised fertilizer.