By Ndafadza Madanha
NESPRESSO an operating unit of Nestle will next year introduce a limited edition of Zimbabwean coffee on the international market anchored on 450 local small holder farmers it has contracted.
Nestle has committed about US$1.2m into the five year project that is expected to transform the lives of small holder farmers in Honde Valley.
Speaking at the International Symposium on Contract farming and other Inclusive Business Models Ben Ndiaye managing director for Nestle Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia operations, said 51 percent of the contracted farmers are women.
“Nespresso is implementing a triple A programme that looks into quality, productivity, social and environmental sustainability. When we work with farmers our aim is to improve quality and we pay premium prices that are above the market rates because they produce a premium product.
In Zimbabwe we have launched a five year program at a cost of US$1.2 million and we are working with TechnoServe who shall train farmers on agronomy, quality and productivity. So far we have signed up 450 small holder farmers and 51 percent are women. 90 percent of the coffee produced will be sold to the Nespresso at above market prices and next year it will launch a limited edition of the Zimbabwe coffee on the international market”.
Zimbabwe at its peak produced 15 000 mt of coffee which was mainly for the export market and about 750 small holder farmers used to play a major role in the production.
Ndiaye said one endearing future of the arrangement with local farmers is that they don’t have to sell their coffee to Nestle though it provides them with much needed technical expertise.
“When Zimbabwe was at its peak the bulk of coffee grown was exported so Nestle and TechnoServe have helped resuscitate production and give markets to the farmers. TechnoServe is paid by Nestle to train the farmers but they are not bound to sell to us. However, the farmers have opted to sell 90% of their coffee to us and we believe this is a sustainable model”.