Towards Perpetual Development for Growing Yemeni Coffee [Archives:2001/37/Business & Economy]

September 10 2001

Mahyoob Al-Kamali
The College of Agriculture at Sana’a University will soon witness the first farmers’ meeting dealing with the famous Yemeni coffee tree. Academic personalities, experts, and specialists in this field are expected to attend this meeting in order to exchange their experiences with farmers in growing this tree by developing high standards of cultivation and to draw plans for increasing coffee production and its exports to the foreign markets. Reliable sources within the College of Agriculture indicated that coffee samples will be examined scientifically in order to specify the best qualities together with their regional origins in Yemen. Last year, Arab and American Companies made purchasing orders of Yemeni coffee after Yemen’s participation in several international fairs, such as Cairo and Dubai, to advertise Yemeni coffee abroad.

USD 7,500 per ton of Yemeni Coffee
According to official sources, the purchasing offers of Yemeni coffee reached a price per ton of around USD 7,000 to 7,500.
After a price set at USD 400 per ton a few years ago, coffee was ranked first among all Yemeni products. As a result, two projects to export coffee were established in Haraz and Yafe’ regions at a cost of USD 57 million. Two other projects, one in Razeh in Saada’a governorate and in Anes in Dhamar, will be ready soon. It is worth mentioning that these projects were set up close to the coffee farms.

Indications that national budget will benefit from coffee exports
The Ministry of Agriculture points out that the increase in coffee production could impact positively Yemeni exports and Yemen’s budget. This can be achieved by the expansion of coffee production in all fertile areas. The fifth year plan for the period 2001-2005 includes the construction of small dams, the utilization of modern techniques of irrigation, encouraging the farmers to establish coffee storage, and the replacement of the old trees with new ones. Moreover, the experts in coffee growing have to instruct the farmers how to produce in proper ways the best qualities of Yemeni coffee.
Statistics also indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture established a number of water collection basins and irrigation techniques in all coffee growing areas with the financial help of France. They added that there are currently 18 nurseries scattered all around Yemen and that areas with coffee plants are estimated to have reached 33,443 hectares.

Local efforts to increase coffee production
In absence of investors and capital in Yemen, cooperative societies were set up by locales. Among these cooperatives, Al-Kara Cooperative in Abyan governorate was established at the cost of YR 5 million and encompasses around 3 million coffee trees. Another society located in Lahj cost YR 20 million and planted 550,000 coffee trees, while Manakha Society, started at a cost of YR 630,000, comprises around 85,000 trees and produces around 1,900 tons of coffee per year.

Investment Opportunities
Investment opportunities exist in coffee production. The private sector could thus set up factories to condition coffee, establishing coffee storage, or exporting the surpluses to importing markets.
Yemen is currently seeking to restore its reputation in coffee growing. It is therefore vital that the Hereditary Center in the College of Agriculture in Sana’a University must conduct scientific surveys and researches leading to an improvement in the coffee production and offering more appropriate ways in growing coffee.