Coffee is considered a priority crop by the Angolan Government
13.04.2021 16:25 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) —
Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U. S. Department of Agriculture attache in The Luanda, Angola produced an estimated 8.700 MT (metric tons) of coffee in 2019, with Robusta being the main variety produced. Coffee is considered a priority crop by the Angolan Government and growing exports
is important to the diversification of the economy. The promotion of coffee exports is expected to increase available foreign exchange (FOREX), and reduce Angola’s reliance on imports.
Commercial coffee production in Angola was initiated by the Portuguese in the 1830s and thrived for decades under colonial rule. At its height in the early 1970s, Angolan coffee production was at 230,000MT, making it the fourth largest coffee producer in the world at the time. There were approximately 2,000 coffee plantations across Angola, mainly producing the Robusta variety.
After Angola become independent from Portugal in 1974, a decades long civil war decimated the entire country, including the coffee industry. By the end of the civil war in the early 2000s, Angola was producing less than 5,000 tons due the neglect of the plantations for nearly 40 years.
In 2014 the Angola government (GOA) acknowledged that the coffee sector could be one of the pillars to the diversification of the economy and began promoting increased coffee production. One of the GOA initiatives is the delivery of Robusta coffee seedlings to small holder farmers in order to renovate their coffee trees, as the older colonial trees had very low yields.
The Angolan National Coffee Institute (INCA), under the umbrella of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, is the national institution with the mandate to coordinate research and development in the sectors of coffee, cocoa and palm oil. According to INCA, in 2015 there were 52,200 hectares in production being cultivated between small farmers (with less 10 hectares) and commercial farmers (with less 250 hectares).
The production of coffee is divided between family and commercial farmers. The small and medium traditional family farmers are responsible for approximately 95 percent of the coffee production in Angola, which they combine with other cash and subsistence crops (cassava, maize, sweet potato and beans). The coffee plants themselves are old, pre-dating colonial independence, and the farmers only do basic maintenance and harvesting of the coffee plantation. The remaining five percent coffee production is from larger commercial farms that use traditional methods to produce the coffee, as well as commercial farmers with modern technology and new varieties of coffee that employ mechanized production.
The coffee marketing cycle begins with the production of the coffee cherry by the producers on their properties, followed by the harvest. The coffee is placed on drying terraces and then sold to processors.
Some farmers dispense with drying and sell to the coffee cherry directly to processors, who already have terraces for this drying. The dried coffee is subsequently dehulled and transformed into commercial coffee beans. The beans are stored in 60Kg bags until they are transported to the end users. The most common issues in the marketing of Angolan coffee are the lack of transport and the low prices paid to farmers.
In 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries estimated coffee production at 8,718 MT of «Mabuba» or dry coffee, and 4,369 MT of green coffee beans. Uíge and Cuanza Norte provinces are the largest coffee producers in the north and Cuanza Sul province is the largest producer in Central Angola.
Angola began exporting coffee again in 2001, towards the end of the civil war. The major coffee processor and exporter is Angonabeiro, a Luso-Angolan company, that has been operating in Angola since 2000. This company does not own coffee production farms and only buys coffee from medium sized farmers and some coffee intermediaries. The company supports around 20,000 families who have coffee production as their only source of income. They have recently made some new investments in new rosters and packaging equipment to increase their coffee roasting. Angonabeiro wants to increase the coffee green bean exports to Portugal by about 1,200 MT.