AFRICA – The Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO) in partnership with the Centre for Agriculture & Biosciences International (CABI) and the International Coffee Organization (ICO) have launched the Africa Coffee Facility’ (ACF) worth US$950 million to boost Africa’s coffee industry.

The facility over its 10-year tenure, hosted by Afreximbank will be geared towards achieving a 40 percent increase in high-quality exports worth US$5 billion a year.

Key aims of the ACF will be to invest US$500m on building a sustainable coffee supply, US$100m on improving demand, market linkages and investments.

In addition to that US$200m will be used to put in place climate change adaptation and environmentally resilient practices and US$150m promoting knowledge management and dissemination.

The ACF plans to enable 50 percent of farmers to plant climate-smart materials as part of a strategy to see one out of every 5 coffee farmer adopting climate smart productive systems.

By doing so it is envisaged that farmers’ vulnerability to weather events, such as floods and drought, will be reduced by 25 percent.

It is anticipated that the ACF will also develop and promote domestic consumption of coffee and the need to empower more younger farmers and women into the sector.

Dr. Fred Kawuma, Secretary General of the IACO, said, “The ACF is an ambitious fund which seeks to attract private and public sector investment to transform Africa’s coffee industry from a subsistence to a commercial or entrepreneurial approach where millions of smallholder coffee farms will see their livelihoods significantly enhanced.”

Part of the ACF’s mission, in looking to improve the quality of Africa’s coffee free from crop pests and diseases, making it safe to consumers an area in which CABI specialises.

Dr. Morris Akiri, Regional Director, CABI Africa, said, “CABI is delighted to be working in partnership to help create an African coffee industry which is resilient to climate change and strong enough to compete and succeed in a highly competitive and often volatile global market. “

He added that the organization will not only work to help put the latest knowledge and skills on coffee pest management into farmers hands in the field but also to disseminate information, skills and best practice along all points of the coffee value chain.

It is expected that the initial funding of almost US$1bn will be achieved in the first five years with more to follow as the fund gains momentum.