Market News

Coffee production drops 18 percent on lower yield

coffee

A farmer picks coffee berries in Nyeri, central Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

BDgeneric_logo

Summary

  • Kenya’s coffee output dipped 18 percent last year on lower crop yields, the Economic Survey 2021 shows.
  • The output was recorded at 36,900 tonnes in the 2019/20 season, down from 45,000 tonnes the previous year.
  • During the period, coffee production by cooperatives decreased by 16.2 percent while that of estates likewise decreased by 22 percent in 2020.

Kenya’s coffee output dipped 18 percent last year on lower crop yields, the Economic Survey 2021 shows.

The output was recorded at 36,900 tonnes in the 2019/20 season, down from 45,000 tonnes the previous year.

During the period, coffee production by cooperatives decreased by 16.2 percent while that of estates likewise decreased by 22 percent in 2020.

“Where production under cooperatives declined by 17 percent while that of estates declined by 22.5 percent,” the survey report said.

The overall area under coffee, however, marginally increased from 10,019,600 hectares in 2019 to 10,019,700 hectares in 2020.

Farmers have an option of selling their coffee directly to international buyers, or contracting marketing agents to sell through the weekly auctions at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

Sales through both channels, however, remain susceptible to price volatility due to fundamentals in the global markets—leaving farmers deeply exposed, especially in instances where commodity prices fall sharply.

While Kenya exports most of its coffee as cleaned beans, only five percent is shipped out as roasted.

Statistics from the Coffee Directorate showed that Kenya exported 98 percent of coffee in the period 2019/20 as green coffee.

Therefore, the country is missing out on the value addition derived from selling roasted and packaged coffee.

Roasters buy Kenyan produce to blend with lower quality beans from elsewhere in the world.

But, the country is seeking to raise the amount of coffee, which is locally roasted, by five to 10 percent annually over the next five years, although concerns remain over falling yields and reduced acreage under coffee.