The Economist’s September 19 article on coffee-growing, highlights the success Kenyan, Tanzanian, Ethiopian, Rwandan and South Sudanese coffee farmers are having under TechnoServe’s tutelage. These small farmers are achieving bumper crops of high quality beans that in turn receive higher prices on the market, which significantly increase family income.
The article asks why aren’t more African farmers able to increase their output, particularly in light of the fact that “Five decades ago it was one of the world’s great crop-exporters. Ghana grew most of the world’s cocoa, Nigeria was the biggest exporter of palm oil and peanuts, and Africa grew a quarter of all the coffee people slurped.” But then poor government policies compounded by other factors, including corruption at multiple levels, led to the downturn. But with support from Rockefeller, Gates and other foundations as well as corporations like Nestle and Coca Cola, TechnoServe has been tackling agriculture among smallholder farmers, region by region, crop by crop, to improve productivity and access to markets. It doesn’t take rocket-science, but rather “instead of subsidizing steel and other big industries, African nations should wake up and sell more coffee—not to mention cocoa, nuts and maize.” And let organizations like TechnoServe help farmers help themselves to a sustainably better life for their families and communities.
Read TechnoServe’s Annual Report and Impact Report to learn more about how their “Business Solutions to Poverty” are transforming lives in Africa, Latin America and India. And of course please buy our book at Amazon and other online retailers as well as Books Inc. and Keplers, to read about our adventures working for TechnoServe and living in Africa. All author royalties to support TechnoServe’s work.