Yemeni coffee,Offers in world markets rise [Archives:2003/667/Business & Economy]

September 11 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Sources at Yemen's ministry of agriculture said there are three areas for investment opportunities for the private sector in production of coffee products. They are mainly in building factories for peeling coffee, marketing the surplus to foreign markets and in building agricultural nurseries for its seeds. The sources told Yemen Times that Yemen's yearly production of coffee is estimated at 20 thousand tonnes and the land area planted with coffee trees is 33.443 hectares.
The sources added that the value of Yemeni coffee offers in external markets has risen to $7500 for one tonne this year compared to $7000 per tonne last year, because of the good reputation the Yemeni coffee entertains worldwide.
A workshop held at Sana'a University in a first meeting with coffee farmers has recommended the increase of the farmer's income and helping him to develop his agricultural mechanisms and fighting plant epidemics and insects that affect the crop for the purpose of increasing production and quantities of exports.
Yemen's agriculture ministry has adopted two projects for preparing and supplying coffee harvest for exportation at a cost of YR75 million and the ministry also supports private sector agricultural societies for increasing production and export. There are about five private societies producing around 75% of coffee total production in addition to the building of 18 nurseries producing 250 crops per year.
The increase in planting the qat trees has led to retreat in the volume of coffee production and that has also caused the exhaustion of 65% of subterranean water by the qat tree.
Coffee is planted in ten governorates out of 20 composing the country of Yemen. And for expanding the activities of the project for development of planting the coffee plant, the ministry of agriculture is working for building water barriers and dams. Farmers say that growing Yemeni coffee needs experience and mechanized units in the field of post-harvest processing and the help in marketing.
Till the end of the17th century Yemen was the sole producer and exporter of coffee in the world because the country is well-known for its agricultural terraces extending from he central to the southern parts of the country.
Nevertheless agricultural sources affirm the receding of Yemen's position to a lagging position behind many countries producing coffee such as Brazil and Ethiopia that produce and market coffee to other countries including Yemen.
The center for developing agricultural research and studies at the agriculture college at Sana'a University is presently developing scientific research and studies on growing coffee and developing it production continuously.