HONDE Valley coffee farmers are expected to reap huge rewards following the firming of the crop’s prices on the international market.
Local farmers are into Arabica coffee farming.
The brand is the most popular in the world and its price has doubled over the past 12 months.
In 2018, Government joined forces with Nespresso, a unit of the Nestle Group headquartered in Switzerland to revive the coffee industry through the Nespresso AAA Programme.
The Nespresso AAA Programme is a coffee sourcing programme designed to ensure continued supply of high-quality coffee, while improving livelihoods of farmers and their communities and protecting the environment.
“From the start of this project in 2018, Nespresso and Technoserve our implementing partner have received all the necessary support from Government, local administrations and farming communities.
“Agriculture is a key development priority for Zimbabwe and this project fits into the wider ambition to revive the agriculture industry.
“Locals are proud of their coffee and want to give the world an opportunity to enjoy it once again,” said Nestle Zimbabwe communications officer, Ms Yamurai Zhou.
She said they started the training programme in Honde Valley in 2018 where most smallholder farmers are concentrated and in 2019, the AAA programme was expanded to Chipinge, Chimanimani and Vumba.
As of the end of 2020, 329 smallholder farmers had joined the Nespresso AAA Programme, covering almost all Zimbabwe’s smallholder coffee farmers.
Two coffee estates are also part of the programme.
Although Honde Valley is the hub of coffee farming in Zimbabwe, it has not been spared from effects of climate change.
Nestle Zimbabwe has been helping farmers to cope with the effects of climate change and global warming by providing technical support.
“Through the AAA Sustainable Quality Programme and in partnership with Technoserve ,a global non-profit organisation, Nespresso provides basic agricultural trainings on how to produce and process coffee to ensure the highest quality product.
“The training also include climate-smart techniques that help farmers to build their resilience to climate change while increase their income, ” said Ms Zhou.
She added: “Zimbabwean farmers grow some of the world’s finest Arabica coffee, which we roast to produce Nespresso “TamukamuZimbabwe” (We Have Awakened in Zimbabwe). This is a coffee bursting with complex fruitiness and zesty, bright acidity, with notes of cranberry to red berries and currant to grape. It was made available in 46 countries from May 2021.
“Through the AAA programme, we are working with farmers in the region to help them improve the quality of their coffee and productivity of their farms. We are providing technical assistance and training to 329 smallholders farmers and two coffee estates.”
However, the issue of quality control is still a challenge to local farmers.
“To date, over 2 900 trees have been distributed to AAA farms and Nespresso has pre-financed 20 hand pulpers for selected farmers. Lack of pulpers is a major challenge facing local farmers who typically use home-made pulpers which negatively impact the coffee quality.
“In the late 1980s, local coffee farmers produced over 15 000 tonnes of coffee. By 2017, production levels were at less than 500 tonnes. Through the AAA Programme, we are working with farmers to help them improve the quality of their coffee.
Farmers earn a premium for the high quality coffee they produce and are increasing their yields which helps them to improve their income year-on-year. The positive impact of the programme will reach the whole community and stimulate the rural economy. Together with the farmers, we hope to revive Zimbabwe’s coffee industry,” she said.