Where this is found in Africa Series – an Expository of African Cash Crops

‘Where this is found in Africa’ is our expository of the many cash crops birth by the fertile lands of Africa. Each region boasts of the capacity to produce a variety of food commodities in large quantities. The cash crops, cultivation, and countries of origin would be discussed in this series. Today we will be starting with COFFEE.

Brewed coffee

Brewed coffee

Coffee is a drink that is brewed and prepared from roasted coffee beans. The dark-brown beans are slightly acidic, bitter and stimulating as a result of its caffeine content.

Coffee was first discovered in the native forests of Eastern Africa. According to history, it was found around AD850 in Kaffa by an Abyssinian (former name for Ethiopia) known as Kaldi. Coffee was first brewed in the mid-15th century by some Yemenis who obtained the beans from Somali traders that journeyed from the Eastern Highlands of Africa.

Coffee Cultivation

Coffee Cultivation


One of the ways of planting coffee is through the traditional Shade-grown method. The beans are planted at an altitude of 1500 meters on fertile forest lands. The seeds are intercropped alongside other food and tree crops that provide shade from sunlight.

See also: AATF partners IRRI to Scale Hybrid Rice Production in Africa

A more modern method is practiced in developed countries like Brazil. The seeds are first planted in a nursery within controlled temperate conditions. The seedlings are then transferred outside at six to twelve months.

Coffee Producers in Africa

Coffee sorting process

Coffee Producers in Africa

Ethiopia is the #5 producer of coffee in the world. The country is popular for exporting Kaffa and Sidamo (Arabica) beans. Another major species is the Canefora or Robusta which produces better yields as a result of high resistance to disease infestation. Both Arabica and Robusta trees produce crops within 3 years of cultivation and still produce for 20-30 years. Other gourmet Ethiopian coffee beans species include Wollega (Nekempte), Limu, Sidama, Yirgacheffe, Tepi, and Bebeka.

Ethiopia is among the top producers of coffee in the world

top producers of coffee in the world

Coffee in East Africa is cultivated in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Burundi, and Uganda. In the North is Sudan and Ivory Coast on the West African coast. It is also produced in Zimbabwe, Angola, Cameroon, DRC Congo, Tanzania, and Malawi on small scales. 

Coffee is currently cultivated in over 70 countries globally and about 25 African countries economically benefit from its production. Brewed coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The bean is a major agro commodity in Africa and has become a primary export in Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Africa is recognized for producing some of the world’s finest quality beans. Millions of people in these countries depend on coffee production as the primary source of livelihood. The global demand for coffee is expected to increase by a third to 200 million bags by 2030, as the population increases.