Global production now hovers around 110 million 60kg bags (6.6 million tonnes) per year. This is divided between Arabica (70 percent) and Robusta (30 percent). Coffee is produced in more than 75 countries, mostly in the tropics.
Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world and like cocoa, is traded on various financial markets. Kailahun district is at the centre for Robusta coffee production in Sierra Leone although it also grows in the neighbouring districts of Kono and Kenema.
All coffee plants are classified in the large family of Rubiaceae plants. They are evergreen shrubs or small trees that grow up to 5 metres; however, the fruit or cherry they produce are handpicked when ripe so trees are kept to more manageable heights. The cherry is then sundried, where the fruit is removed, leaving the bean within a parchment which is then milled, leaving the green coffee bean.
They are then cleaned and bagged in preparation for export. Once roasted Robusta beans can be used for instant coffee, espresso or blended with better quality Arabica beans. The harvest in Sierra Leone runs from December until April and like cocoa is a major cash crop with enormous growth potential with companies like KPC spearheading the development. Our focus is for farmers to produce better quality beans and shorten the complex supply chain ensuring they get maximum value and improve their incomes.