Reinforce Coffee Quality Control!

Statistics made public during the launch of the 2014-2015 coffee season in Bafoussam, Thursday February 5 show that production moved from 17,000 metric tons in the 2012-2013 season to 32,807 metric tons in the 2013-2014 season. This entails an increase of 15,808 metric tons or 93 per cent. Good news indeed!

Although the performance has not equaled that of the 2011-2012 season which was in the neigbourhood of 38,000 metric tons, it is however hope-raising. The news from Bafoussam is the more comforting given the doubt and fear that the performance of the 2012-2013 season left not only in the minds of coffee farmers and concerned administration, but also in the entire country given the place the produce occupies in the national socio-economic life. It is one of the main export produce of the country alongside cocoa, rubber, crude oil, timber et al.

Authorities attribute the improved performance to production-enhancement programmes and projects put in place in various hubs across the country. Fertilizer is said to be made available to farmers almost on time and good production techniques dished out to them through the various farmer cooperatives. This is to say the least, salutary to keep the once vibrant sector afloat amidst threats from food crops whose early yields and sometimes attractive prices tempt some farmers to dump coffee production.

While celebrating the increase performance for the just-ended season, it is however important to remind the administration that production could have even been better if inputs were supplied to farmers on time and extension workers encouraged to get to the field earlier enough to teach farmers the techniques of their application. Time is therefore an important factor in coffee production which must be embraced for output to continually stay top.

The 2014-2015 coffee season is said to be placed on the banner of heightened production. This would be to get closer to the 2020 objective to attain an annual coffee production of 160,000 metric tons (125,000 for Robusta and 35,000 for Arabica). Reports say the skies are brighter for countries with improved coffee production especially in the current season where world production is tipped to plummet.

Experts at the Bafoussam coffee-season-launch disclosed that the global coffee production could drop by 120,000 metric tons. This would imply increase in prices all things being equal. As such, the country stands to gain more in improved production. That a kilogramme of coffee fetched about FCFA 1,000 for Arabica and a bit less for Robusta in the last season speaks of how much the produce could bring into the country were production to be higher.

As stakeholders gun for continual improved output therefore, it would be imperative to reinforce quality control so as to have the produce in quantity and quality. Cameroon is not the only coffee producing country. For the produce to compete with others from giant producers like Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Uganda, among others, its quality must be best.

This calls for a sustained training of farmers to abandon quality-degrading drying methods like smoking the produce or drying it under conditions that are everything susceptible to consolidating the good quality known of the produce here. Attaining a sustainable quantity and quality production of coffee and by extension other export produce could be a palliative to the slum in oil prices that are already aersely affecting the economy.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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