Mzuzu Coffee is on fire, for a good cause of course, as international buyers have already purchased about 230 metric tonnes (MT) of the crop from this year’s harvest, Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited officials told Weekend Nation.
In an interview, Mzuzu Coffee chief executive officer Harrison Kalua said many buyers are interested in the Mzuzu Coffee to the extent that half of the expected harvests this year have already been booked.
”We are very happy with the expected output this year because we had adequate rains for coffee. Last year we exported 460 metric tonnes (MT) and this year we will be exporting between 530 to 550 MT. If 460 MT generated $1.4 million [last year] the figure this year will be much higher,” Kalua said.
He said so far the demand for Mzuzu coffee has soared and the union cannot satisfy the market. Currently, Mzuzu Cofee is sold in Australia, United States (US) Japan and Europe.
He said coffee can bring into the county millions of dollars if up scaled as currently, smallholder growers face problems to get access finance to boost production.
“Since coffee takes four years before harvesting starts, most banks are reluctant to provide loans. We have plans to expand, but so far we have managed to help growers plant the crop in Ntchisi. The project is being supported by United States Aid (USAid).
“However, we have plans to plant the crop in Dedza, Neno, Ntcheu, Mangochi, Thyolo districts, but funding is limited,” said Kalua.
Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Felix Jumbe concurred with Kalua that coffee has the potential to bring into the country over $200 million per annum if grown on a large-scale.