A two-day technical workshop was opened yesterday 16 July 2019 in Lome by the International Trade Centre (ITC), as part of the European Union’s ‘Intra-ACP Support Programme to ACRAM for the revival and promotion of Robusta Coffee’. It brings together delegates, both public and private, from the five ACRAM member countries – Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo – whose Robusta coffee development projects are available.
It is the unifying work of ACRAM that asserts itself through this double support of the European Union and the ACP, over a period of 5 years. Indeed, after having diagnosed the lack of a strategic intervention framework, the low productivity of Robusta coffee farms, the shortcomings in the planning of renewal and regeneration of plantations, the high level of the average age of producers, the often degraded image of Robusta coffee, leading to a decline in Robusta coffee production in Africa and the impoverishment of coffee producers, ACRAM has developed a programme to boost production in Robusta coffee producing countries in Africa to provide coffee farmers with an enabling environment to grow and market their product sustainably. This should enable them to derive enough income from coffee farming, ensure a decent standard of living for their families and contribute to the national income.
The Lome technical workshop marks the beginning of programming with the intervention of ITC, which is one of the three programme implementing agencies on behalf of the European Union, together with UNIDO and the World Bank, which will soon join this programme overseen by ACRAM.
At the opening of the work, Mr. Enselme Gouthon said he strongly hoped that “the workshop will mark a real start in support for the development of the coffee sectors of ACRAM members with a strong involvement of young people and women in the Robusta coffee value chain”. For his part, the Agribusiness Portfolio Officer at the International Trade Centre, Mr Hernan Manson, outlines the objectives of the program, in a general context of the price crisis and the need to increase sources of income for small coffee producers. The current context and the need to forge more sustainable partnerships between producers and the market represents a challenge, but also an opportunity for African countries to improve the competitiveness of their sectors..
The quality of the products and the commercial strategy of the producers requires an alliance with all the actors of the sector, from the producer to the consumer.
The 2nd axis of work on which we must act is transformation and the valorisation of the local market which represents for all producing countries a real lever of growth. The programme will help to enhance the value of this local market, at the same time as it represents an attraction for investments in this sector.
The 3rd axis is the support of producer organizations to develop alliances with industry.
The programme aims to support the private coffee sector and strengthen public policies to attract investment. EU support will enable beneficiary members to: establish a permanent and active framework to promote research in the field of robusta coffee development from Africa and ensure farmers’ access to improved plant material; support effective extension services for technology transfer and service delivery to stakeholders in the sector, and develop a strategy for plantation renewal;
Empower farmers by developing and strengthening farmers’ organizations, increasing women’s participation in production and attracting more young people; and promote the image of Robusta Coffee in Africa by highlighting its specificities and developing products and brands of recognized quality to support the development of the sector and local consumption.