Home Agriculture Chipinge Coffee Research Institute targets small-scale farmers

Chipinge Coffee Research Institute targets small-scale farmers


Story by Tamuka Charakupa

The Chipinge Coffee Research Institute has intensified efforts to ramp up coffee production across the country in the wake of an increase in marketing opportunities for the cash crop.

Coffee production is set to claim its rightful place in the country’s agriculture sector, with over 500 new farmers venturing into the trade, bringing the number of coffee producers to over one thousand 600 countrywide.

This comes after the government-owned Chipinge Coffee Research Institute’s drive to ramp up production of the cash crop got the necessary buy-in from the targeted small-scale farmers in a major shift from the past when it was the preserve of white farmers.

Coffee farmer Mr Simon Sabani said, “Coffee was grown in the farms where we used to work and stay so for us this is the crop that we will now grow. As for me, I am thinking of totally divorcing from growing maize.”

“Coffee is very lucrative and it is my wish that all farmers in region one could shift their attention to this crop,” he added.

Another coffee farmer Mrs Evelyn Makwembeni said, “We started growing coffee on a trial basis challenging ourselves that we can do it just as the whites did and now we are actually seniors and can now teach fellow farmers.”

She added, “Coffee is not difficult to produce, unlike macadamia nuts which demand attention and too many chemicals.”

Head of Chipinge Coffee Research Institute, Mr Caleb Mahoya also confirmed that they are taking a leaf from the government’s inclusive development mantra by introducing coffee production in all parts of the country.

“The good part of coffee is that we have a got a ready market. Currently, Nespresso is buying Zimbabwean coffee at around an average price of $6.50 per kg so that’s good money, especially considering that so can breakeven at half a hectare,” he said.

At its peak in the 1980s and late 90s, coffee production accounted for about 2,1 percent of the gross domestic product, raking in an equivalent of US$54 million on annual basis.