Robusta coffee prices jump 16 years high

KAGERA: THE price of Robusta has increased by 70 per cent per kilogramme this season, thanks to fears that excessive dryness in Vietnam will damage the crop and curb global production.

The price went up to 5,100/- per kg compared to around 3,000/- per kg, which will make farmers laugh all the way to the bank. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of Robusta coffee beans.

This marks the highest price of Robusta since 2008 when the current form of the futures contract started trading. Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB)’s Kagera Regional Manager Mr Edmond Zani explained that Robusta price is holding strong and the futures on the International Commodities Exchange (ICE) have reached a 16-year high.

“Due in part to its resilience in increasingly hostile growing conditions, Robusta production is catching up with Arabica, whereas it was once a 70/30 split in favour of Arabica. Robusta is now approaching 50 per cent of all coffee produced globally,” he said.

The price of Robusta on the International Commodities Exchange (ICE) reached 3,750 US dollars per metric tonne (just over 1.70 US dollars per pound), marking the highest price Robusta fetched since 2008, when the current form of the futures contract started trading.

ALSO READ: Relief as Kagera coffee farmers get attractive prices

Elaborating, he said the oft-maligned coffea canephora, once seen only as a lower quality coffee to be used as a caffeine boost for blends and in instant coffee, is seeing an increased interest from the coffee industry at large. The coffee business is now through auctioning.

The selling of coffee directly from the farms has been banned. Coffee regulations in Tanzania are undergoing major changes to improve farmers’ incomes and extend their role in the supply chain, according to Mr Zani.

During the recent auction held on June 27, Kyaitoke AMCOS in Bukoba sold 17,595 kgs of robusta coffee at 5,102/- a kg.

Kafunjo AMCOS in Karagwe sold 158,392kgs of Robusta certified where a kilogramme fetched 5,100/- while Ngara Farmers AMCOS, on the other hand, sold 134,637kgs of arabica certified at 4,850/ per kg while Kyebitembe AMCOS in Muleba sold 55 kgs of arabica at 3,510/- per kg.

The government in collaboration with other stakeholders including TCB, cooperative unions, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TACRI), Café Africa Tanzania and the private sector is implementing a five-year strategic plan aimed to increase coffee production from 78,000 metric tonnes to 300,000 metric tonnes come 2025.

The plan goes in hand with producing 20 million improved coffee seedlings each year. The increase of coffee production in the region has positive impact on farmers’ livelihoods and the national economy, she said.

During the past three years coffee production in Kagera increased from 52,000 tonnes during 2019/20 to 78,300 metric tonnes during 2022/23 enabling the farmers to pocket about 96.4bn/-.

Kagera farmers produce robusta coffee which constitutes 50 per cent of the total coffee production in the country.

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