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Nespresso seeks to revive Zimbabwean coffee industry

Food and beverage giant will provide technical assistance to 400 smallholder coffee farmers with $1.25m investment over five years with the aim to revive Zimbabwe’s faltering coffee production as global demand for premium African coffees grows
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The initiative will see Nespresso buy more than 95% of ‘high quality’ coffee produced in the southern African nation, with coffee farmers given training on sustainability and climate resilience in partnership with non-profit organisation, TechnoServe.

The global coffee brand will begin selling limited edition Zimbabwe capsules from May 2019 in 15 countries, including the US and UK. Nestlé will be hoping to open a new front in the lucrative market for specialty African coffees, which have increased in popularity as 3rd Wave principles and single origin enters the mainstream in developed coffee shop markets.

“Zimbabwe has a long history of producing beautiful coffees and we are pleased to be working with farmers through our AAA Sustainable Quality Program to help bring this industry back to life,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso.

Zimbabwe’s coffee production has suffered steep decline in the last two decades and is in danger of ‘disappearing’, according to Nestlé. The former British colony was once a significant agricultural exporter but has endured severe economic instability since the 1990s, with hyperinflation hitting 79.6 billion percent in late 2008. A recent Bloomberg report estimated around 400-500 tons of high quality arabica coffee was produced in 2017-18, down from a peak of 15,000 tons in 1987-88.

Nestlé’s investment come as Zimbabwe enters an uneasy new era following a 2017 coup that ousted President Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for more than 30 years. Emmerson, Mnangagwa, who hails from the same ZANU-PF party, was elected president in July 2018.

It is not the first time Nestlé has invested in volatile coffee producing nations. In 2015 Nestlé announced a similar coffee investment programme in South Sudan but later pulled out due conflict in the country.
 

 

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