The challenges affecting the coffee sector are a daily concern to many of those involved in the coffee sector and on 14th July 2011, the board members of the regulatory authority had a brainstorming session to look at these various issues.

The theme of the session was “finding solutions to the challenges of the coffee sub sector”. First discussed was the issue of production and productivity where the discussion point was how effectively the industry can speed up the multiplication of the CWD, how can the industry mainstream provide a distinct framework to monitor and respond outside the generic MAAIF framework which is neither efficient nor effective, is the current extension system adequate for the coffee subsector and most importantly how can the industry double production with the current acreage.

The second issue was Quality where the point of discussion was what can be done in the interim as the industry awaits the National Coffee Policy to mitigate the quality deterioration.

The third issue discussed was Value addition and Promotion to which the point of discussion was operationalization of the wet mills under the SEP project hence the question what can the industry do to ensure that all the plants are functional and what strategies with scenarios can be looked at and implemented?
The fourth and last issue discussed was Finances where the point of discussion was the funding of the priority areas like coffee research, coffee extension, and coffee replanting on a sustainable basis hence the question how can the industry mainstream the strategies for funding for the areas in the planning and operations and stop handling it on an adhoc basis?

Board members and UCDA personnel highlighted how important it was to persistently, consistently and effectively remain in the face of the President of the country in order to get the due attention.

The measures for the way forward were discussed later on in the afternoon which hopefully shall be put into effect as many of these problems need to be solved sooner rather than later.

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