Malawi coffee courts 9 international buyers

The African Fine Coffees Association (Afca) has courted nine international buyers to bid for 4.86 tonnes of coffee from Malawi which was selected during the Taste of Harvest Competition last week.

Mzuzu Coffee, which dominated the competition, expects to sell 4.26 tonnes of the total quantity.

Coffee is one of Malawi’s export crops

The auction will take place on November 8 and 9 2017 through United Kingdom-based company, Bean Auction.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday in Mzuzu, Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited acting chief executive officer Bernard Kaunda said they expect to sell more coffee than the previous years.

He said last year, the cooperative sold 1.56 tonnes at $7.12 (about K5 200) per kilogramme (kg). The starting price at the auction was $6.17 (K4 500) per kg.

“This means we are making strides in ensuring that our coffee is of the highest quality. These are top quality coffees. So, normally they will not be in large quantities and that is why they have been auctioned internationally,” he said.

Kaunda said this year, there is an increase in the number of buyers from Taiwan, United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK) and Norway, who have shown interest to bid for the coffee.

He said last year they only had four buyers from Taiwan, UK and USA.

Kaunda said Mzuzu Coffee, which is produced by growers in Chitipa, Rumphi, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay and Ntchisi, continues to attract international attention because the company is mindful of quality management systems.

“We have invested heavily in the processing and quality control. As such, that is why we end up with high quality products on the market.

“In terms of business, this Taste of Harvest Competition makes Mzuzu Coffee more conspicuous because when we do those competitions, buyers get to know that we are mindful of quality and that our product is up-to-date,” he said.

Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited produces 400 tonnes a year.

But Coffee Association of Malawi (Camal) chairperson Robin Saunders said Malawi has potential to produce more coffee if government shows interest to boost the crop.

Malawi exports 1 000 tonnes of coffee in a year, earning the country about $3 million (about K2 billion). n

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