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Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Higino de Marrule. Photo: AIM
Italy recently released 4 million Euros to boost production and promote the marketing of Ibo Island’s specialist coffee in both the national and international markets. The initiative was conceived by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and aims to increase the income of small farmers in that part of Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique.
Higro de Marrule, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, says the programme will help increase Ibo’s coffee production – currently less than 1,000 tonnes per year.
Speaking in Maputo just days after signing the financing agreement, the minister said that the medium and long-term aim was to consolidate and protect Ibo coffee as a brand in its own right.
“Ibo coffee is one of Cabo Delgado’s best products because of its unique taste and unmistakable aroma,” he said.
UNIDO technical assistance will help make the product competitive in the market. Support consists of agricultural research, linking farmers to markets and capacity-building at the Bilibiza Agrarian Institute in Quissanga district, in Cabo Delgado, which will be equipped with laboratory services.
Italian ambassador to Mozambique, Roberto Vellano, said that the agreement inaugurated a new stage in Mozambique’s agrarian development, especially in terms of scientific research and training of local producers.
In Italy, coffee production and consumption generate profits of five million Euros per year, he added.
Ibo’s coffee is a resilient strain, adaptable to any type of soil, and is grown from sea level altitudes of 1,500 metres.
In addition to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the project also enjoys the participation of IllyCafe, an Italian multinational that operates in the coffee business.
UNIDO has previously tested its coffee production-boosting model in Ethiopia.