by Frank Kanyesigye
KIGALI, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- African coffee products could dominate the global market in the next five years as some countries have expanded coffee growing acreage and raised quality of coffee produce, experts told Xinhua on Friday.
Production of coffee in Africa could rise by more than 2 million bags in each of the next five years, as farming improves in most coffee-growing countries like Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, said Peter Kettler, global product manager for coffee at Fairtrade International.
Africa has huge opportunity to dominate global coffee market in the near future as coffee consumption surges around the world, Kettler told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 17th African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
Major coffee producers like Brazil and other Latin American countries have been exposed to various environmental challenges and coffee diseases that lowered output of coffee, which offers a good opportunity for African coffee producing countries to raise output and exports, he said.
Ria Stout, chief regional officer of Rainforest Alliance, a U.S.-based certification program for coffee companies, concurred, saying Africa's finest quality beans are attracting global attention.
Ishak Lukenge, chairman of African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), said demand for African coffee is trending upward due to growing popularity of specialty coffee, which now accounts for one of every two cups in America and Europe.
African coffee-producing countries have streamlined the entire value chain from land preparation to export, raising the continent's capacity to cope up with the ever increasing demand of coffee, he said.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Africa accounts for about 12 percent of the world's coffee production, but its beans are much prized by coffee connoisseurs.
Global coffee consumption will rise by a third to 200 million bags by 2030, as population increases and disposable incomes rise, according to the WEF.
Members of the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition include Cameroon, Burundi, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
The three-day conference, which runs through Friday, brought together more than 600 delegates, including 65 exhibitors, from across Africa and beyond, to discuss ways to raise the quality and competitiveness of coffee produced in Africa.