Business Headlines

Northern coffee doubles production to 800 tonnes

MINISTER of Finance Felix Mutati planting a coffee plant at Northern Coffee Corporation Limited. PICTURE: KALONDE NYATI

KALONDE NYATI, Kasama
Northern Coffee Corporation Limited has this year more than doubled coffee production with its capacity currently at over 800 tonnes.
Northern Coffee Corporation Limited general manager Paul Bebbington said the company has this year increased production from the 300 tonnes of coffee it produced last year, and that its projects will increase by three-fold next year.
Mr Bebbington said this in an interview after ministers of Finance Felix Mutati, Infrastructure and Housing Ronald Chitotela, Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba and Northern Province Brian Mundubile toured the company’s Kateshi Coffee Estate over the weekend.
He said the company,which has to date invested US$60 million in the coffee project, has since last year recorded a steady increase in production.
“We are one of the few survivors in Zambia’s coffee industry and we are busy developing our business. We are half-way through our development process, 2015 was our first crop, though small, but 2016 was a bigger crop and we are expecting a jump in 2017,” he said.
Mr Bebbington also said the company is developing out-grower schemes to support production.
The company is currently producing coffee on about 1,100 hectares.
“We are developing some pilot schemes in the community and we want to see how those pilot schemes will perform and expand them. We are looking at 10 hectares. We want to get it right and develop the coffee culture because it is still very low in the communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutati said the Government will support the coffee company by ensuring stability of power supply used for irrigation.
Mr Mutati said such projects need support as they are a proper way of diversifying the economy.
He encouraged the company to actively work on out-grower schemes.
Mr Mutati said he would engage the provincial minister and the company management to see how much money could be hived out from the emergent farmer fund in the national budget worth US$50 million, to support the out-grower schemes.

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