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Zimbabwe coffee growers association annual meeting.

The past twelve months had been characterized by continued low prices on the international market, a lack of meaningful rainfall in the main producing areas and the uncertainties created by the constitutional amendment in respect of agricultural land, stated the chairman of the Coffee Growers Association (CGA) Jimmy Aitken, in his report to the 30th Annual General Meeting in Harare.

He said that in the year ending March 31, 1991 a good quality crop of 13,850 tons had been delivered and growers had received the correct grades for their products. To date 12,814 tons of coffee had coffee had been sold for export from the 1990/91 crop at a value of US 23.4 million. Coffee berry disease (CBD) continued to be present, said Aitken, and the drier than normal season had been helpful in controlling the outbreak in the early stages of berry expansion.

Aitken welcomed changes that had taken place in the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)--who were responsible for purchasing and exporting Zimbabwe's coffee--and this had led to good communication between the CGA and GMB. He believed that the establishment of the Coffee Department within the GMB would help focus on the unique problem of coffee processing and marketing and also the GMB was now fully conscious of the need to contain their costs which had recently been extensively examined.

The CGA had established a subcommittee to examine the possibility of the Association taking over the present coffee processing and marketing functions of the GMB. They had deliberated on the costs of these functions and the most effective corporate structure and subsequently there have been preliminary discussions between the CGA Chairman and the Chairman and General Manager of the GMB.

During the year, one of the CGA members stated that he intended to produce organic coffee and wished to export outside the normal marketing system as the CGA Executive Committee felt that there was a market for this type of coffee in the more develops countries. They supported the growers and the GMB has agreed to allow exports on a closely monitored basis for a trial period of 12 months.

The CGA continued to encourage small-scale producers in the Honde Vallyer and had invited a representative from the are to the Executive Committee in order to improve communications with these growers. There had been an improvement in both quantity and quality of coffee being grown in this area.

The Zimbabwean coffee growers' return were entirely dependent upon the state of the world market, said Aitken, which was stationary in price terms and was likely to remain so during the foreseeable future.

The tea industry had been similarly affected and negotiations with Zimbabweans Tea Grower's Association were underway with a view to a joint approach to the highest levels of government. He added that not only were the negotiations aimed at protesting over the apparently unjustified price increase, but also to investigate alternative sources for the fertilizer requirement of the tea and coffee industries.

The CGA's finances had been under considerable strain during the past three years and with great reluctance the levy had been increased to 1.76% with effect from April 1, 1991. This was necessary to maintain the services to which growers had become accustomed.
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Title Annotation:report by Jimmy Aitken at Coffee Growers Association meeting in Harare
Author:Kille, Turville
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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