By Natasha Chamba
Nestle Zimbabwe has launched a five-year programme at a cost of $1,2 million which will see smallholder farmers producing coffee to be sold to Nespresso at above market prices.
The company, a unit of the world’s largest food and beverage firm, Swiss-based Nestle Global, is looking into the wider scope of the re-development of the coffee industry in Zimbabwe by selling Zimbabwean coffee to the world leader in coffee capsules, Nespresso.
Managing director for Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, Mr Ben Ndiaye, confirmed the programme.
“In Zimbabwe we have launched a five-year programme at a cost of US$1,2 million and we are working with TechnoServe who shall train farmers on agronomy, quality and productivity.
“So far we have signed up 450 smallholder farmers and 51 percent are women,” he said.
“About 90 percent of the coffee produced will be sold to Nespresso at above market prices. Nespresso is implementing a triple ‘A’ programme that looks into quality, productivity, social and environmental sustainability.
“When we work with farmers our aim is to improve quality and we pay premium prices that are above the market rates because they produce a premium product.”
Technoserve is an international non-profit organisation that promotes business solutions to poverty in the developing world by linking people to information, capital and markets.
Earlier this year, Nespresso indicated its intentions to run a long-term plan to revive Zimbabwe’s coffee industry by buying Zimbabwe’s top-end crop from small holder farmers.
Mr Ndiaye said one attractive feature of the arrangement with local farmers was that they do not have to sell their coffee to Nestle though it provides them with needed technical expertise.
“When Zimbabwe was at its peak, the bulk of coffee grown was exported, so Nestle and TechnoServe have helped resuscitate production and give markets to the farmers. TechnoServe is paid by Nestle to train the farmers but they are not bound to sell to us. However, the farmers have opted to sell 90 percent of their coffee to us and we believe this is a sustainable model,” he said.
Mr Ndiaye added that next year, Nestle Zimbabwe will be launching a limited edition of Zimbabwean coffee on the international market because of the country’s premium harvest.
Zimbabwe produced 15 000mt of coffee at its peak, which was mainly for the export market. About 750 small holder farmers used to play a major role in the production. The Chronicle