Boost coffee production  to increase export revenue – Food Research Institute to farmers
Participants in the training

Boost coffee production to increase export revenue – Food Research Institute to farmers

A food research scientist wants coffee producers in Ghana to take steps to boost the production of the crop for both local consumption and for export to enable the country increase its foreign exchange earnings

Coming at a time when the country is in dire need of foreign exchange to shore up its reserves, the Director of the Food Research Institute (FRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Prof. Charles Tortoe, explained that expanding the country’s export commodity base is now crucial than ever and urged coffee farmers to take advantage of the opportunity.

Prof. Tortoe was speaking at a two-day workshop organised by the International Trade Center (ITC) in collaboration with CSIR-FRI to enhance the capacity of coffee farmers to increase their productivity.

Coffee profile

The Robusta (a type of coffee) thrives in Ghana and is cultivated mainly in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central, Western and Volta Regions.

The coffee season in Ghana runs from October to September. The planting period starts in May at the onset of the rains and harvesting starts in September. The country produces around 37,000 60kg bags a year.

Ghanaian coffee producers are mainly smallholder farmers who have an estimated average yield of 300kg of coffee cherries per hectare.

Farms are on average between half an acre to 1.5 acres in size. However, there are also a few large-scale farms with an estimated average yield of 1,500kg per hectare. 

Coffee is generally natural processed, sun-dried on raised beds (used normally for cocoa drying) and sold at mills or hulling centres.

All in all, it’s estimated that some 17,000ha of farmland in the country is used for coffee cultivation, and that coffee is a major source of income for around 8,000 smallholder farmers.

Many of them have only joined in recent years, following aggressive expansion efforts from Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).

Exploring the potential

Prof. Tortoe said the institute, knowing the potential of coffee, sees the need to improve it to become one of the major non-traditional export commodities capable of increasing the country’s foreign exchange through exports. 

Domestic consumption 

A representative from ITC, Christopher Tenga, recalled when the country used to produce more coffee some years ago and wondered why the production levels had dropped in recent years.

He said aside increasing production, there is also the need to focus on value addition for export while encouraging domestic consumption of the crop.

“So, it is all about promoting what we have. Ghana doesn’t have a coffee culture but there is still market for local demand that we can tap into.

One thing that we need to focus on is the quality, consistency and diversifying the coffee products by providing for different niche and segmentation,” he said.


Speaking on behalf of the participants, the President of Sustainable Coffee Farmers Association, Benedicta Tamakloe, explained that over the years, penetration into the market had been a challenge due to the myth that comes with the consumption of coffee.

She said by educating the people on the use of coffee in creating various recipes would attract more Ghanaians to consume the crop and help those in the coffee value chain to increase sales to boost the economy.

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