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Ivory Coast Coffee

Coffee is very important to the Ivory Coast economy and is the second major countries export. It was the top most coffee producer in whole of Africa from the 1970s to around eighties and among top world Robusta producers. In the recent years its production have been overtaken by other countries especially Brazil, Ethiopia and Vietnam ad ranks as 12th largest coffee producer in the world. Being a French colony, coffee was introduced in the 19th century by France. Coffee production increased rapidly in Ivory Coast and after it independence in 1960s it was ranked third in the world.

The country has its own achievement in coffee agricultural research where it has discovered a special bean revered in the country as the presidential coffee. Arabusta is a specialty coffee bean whose worth have not yet well recognized. It is grown in west region of the nation where there is much high altitudes.

Varieties of coffee grown in Ivory Coast

Robusta

Ivory Coast is one of the worlds top Robusta coffee beans producing nation. Though this variety is referred as cheap and low quality it is still sought after in the world and controls about 30 percent of worlds after Arabica. Ivorian Robusta is blend with high grade organic Arabica beans to reduce the cost and also enhance the flavor of the coffee. One of the major advantages of the Robusta crop is that it has a high resistivity to roya, a leaf rust fungi disease.

Specialty coffee variety Arabusta

This is a high end and hybrid variety which is was bred from the varieties of the Robusta and Arabica and developed in Ivory Coast in 1960s. This variety was developed after the countries independence under Houphouet boigny the countries first president. It was supposed to be an alternative to the Robusta crops which were characterized by bitter strong flavor due to the high levels of caffeine.

Since the country did not have the high altitudes required for the fine grade Arabica beans, it was a better option. It is ivory blue and high end brand which consists of the strong Robusta flavor and the floral light pleasant taste of the Arabica. However the yields of this variety have dropped almost to zero and the research center set aside to grow the variety abandoned.

Since Arabusta has relatively very low productivity as compared to the Robusta variety, small scale coffee growers in Ivory Coast prefer Robusta. Very few coffee growers along the western highlands of Ivory Coast will grow this variety. Though the crop can bring a lot of capital to the country since it high quality can attract good prices, no major incentives have been taken to promote the variety.

Agriculture entrepreneurs interest in Arabusta in Ivory Coast

One of business person devoted to ensure that the ivories gold, Arabusta, is working hard to revive and help Arabusta growing mechanization. He has already built up a roaster characterized by high technology in his farm. In this advanced tech plant the individuals goal is to roast the Arabusta bean in small amounts with a well-controlled background. He is also working to include some recipes to top up the flavor like the ginger and pepper hints.

One of the problem most entrepreneurs are looking to address is the fact that the country sell it coffee in form of green coffee meaning unroasted at low prices. Other countries like in Europe process these beans and sell at high prices. The idea here is bringing most of the coffee beans back home. It is very difficult to determine the real taste of the countries bean since it is not roasted locally.

Coffee growing conditions

Ivory Coast has a flat terrain which is responsible for providing the typical conditions for growing the Robusta coffee bean. These beans have a high caffeine content making it a favorite for preparing instant coffee. The bitter taste associated with this variety makes it less appeal to the Ivory people.

The highlands along Man mountainous region gives the preferred conditions for growing the high quality presidential coffee (introduced by the countries first president) referred to as Arabusta. It is sweeter and has mild acidity compared to Robusta owing to the fact that it is bred between Robusta and the sweet Arabica with floral hints.

Current state of coffee in Ivory Coast

Most coffee crops in Ivory Coast consist of very old trees. The attempts by the government to plant new one have been futile. In short term the coffee growing is slowly declining with the old trees dropping and giving very small yields. The lower prices of the coffee are not encouraging the farmers to venture more into the industry.

Some of the factors that contribute to the decline of Robusta coffee are the civil wars in 2000 to 2007 and 2010 to 2011. Coffee decrease in the country have also been contributed by poor planning and lack of investing valuable time, resources and efforts in the industry.

Majority of coffee beans exported from Ivory Coast have been to Italy and France which gets the lions share. This is due to the fact that France was their colonizer.

In 2011 the then president nationalized coffee together with cocoa (major country exports) which led to further decline of the commodity.

Ivory Coast coffee production targets by 2022

The countries goal is to produce about four times more coffee than it current produce. This was stated by the ministry for agriculture. Robusta green coffee beans production was about 380 000 tons in the year 2000 but dropped down to about 100 000 tons in the recent years due to long political and social economic turmoil leading to 2011 Ivorian civil war.

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Last Updated: 07/22/2020