Speaking at the Mutare Press Club recently, a senior official with CZI, Henry Nemaire, attributed the plunge to the fact that beneficiaries of the land reform programme had no technical skills in coffee farming.
“Coffee production in Manicaland has dropped from 7 000 tonnes to 500 tonnes per year,” said Nemaire.
“This was mainly caused by the fact that those who took over coffee farming did not have any technical skills in coffee farming. I am not against the land reform programme, but we are against the idea that the farmers who took over were not trained in coffee production.”
Nemaire, whose presentation centred on the business analysis in Manicaland, said it was sad to note that coffee growers in the province used to grow 300 hectares but the hectarage had plummeted to 12.
“The other contributing factor that also resulted in the reduction of coffee production is the fact that those who were trained in coffee farming left the country and offered their services elsewhere,” he said.
“The coffee industry suffered a huge brain-drain that resulted in some coffee commercial farms failing to produce.”
The agricultural sector was the major casualty of the fast-track land reform programme which was spearheaded by war veterans in 2000.