"We Must Return"
Economy of Angola is one of the fastest growing in the world, with reported annual average GDP growth of 11.1 percent from 2001 to 2010. It is still recovering from 27 years of the civil war that plagued the country from its independence in 1975 to 2002.
It is a country that is nevertheless rich in natural resources, including precious gems, metals, and petroleum; indeed, it ranks among the highest of the oil-producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the largest and wealthiest of the Portuguese-speaking African states, and Portuguese influences have been felt for some 500 years, although Angola acquired its present boundaries only in 1891.
In “We Must Return,” a poem he wrote from prison in 1956, the Angolan poet Agostinho Neto, who was also the country’s first president, described Angola as “red with coffee / white with cotton / green with maize” and as “our land, our mother.”
Angola was the third largest producer of coffee until 1973 while controlled by Portugal. Angolan coffee was at its pick of excellency of quality during the presidency of Eurico de Azevedo Noronha of the Instituto do Café de Angola, until his death in 1973. The crop year of 1974 set Angola as the world's fourth largest producer of coffee. At present Angola coffee production is trying to recover after 40 years of abandonment and favoring quicker profits from the oil & gas industry.
Plantation and production of coffee contributed largely to the economy of Angola's northwestern area, including the Uíge Province.Coffee production was started by the Portuguese in the 1830s and soon became a cash crop; the popular crop grown on approximately 2000 Angolan plantations, owned mostly by the Portuguese, was Robusta coffee. In the 1970s, Angola was one of the largest coffee-producing countries in Africa. However, the civil war for independence from the Portuguese rule devastated the coffee plantations and many coffee agronomists migrated to Brazil, with the coffee plants grown on plantations becoming wild bushes. Rehabilitation of the plantations has been ongoing since 2000, but the investment required to replace the 40-year-old unproductive plants are estimated to be US$230 million. With the opening up of new roads, industrial activity in the province is taking shape.
More than 4 million displaced people have been attempting to return to their communities and much work has been done to restore the livelihoods of rural residents including coffee farming initiatives.
Tasting notes are difficult to find due to the relatively rarity of this coffee. This coffee varietal has long been popular in Portugal and Spain in southern Europe.
The Angola coffee industry was once dominated by large coffee plantations that produced about seventy percent of the country’s annual coffee crop. These large coffee farms included coffee processing facilities and were primarily managed by Portuguese settlers.
Many of the large coffee plantations of Angola were nationalized after the country achieved independence, and new farm managers lacked the expertise of the previous managers. At the same time acquiring sufficient labor became a problem and inputs to the coffee (e.g., fertilizer) were in short supply, and consequently the yields of the coffee plants decreased significantly.
When many state Angola coffee farms were privatized in the 1990s, many coffee plantations were subdivided. Farmers had great difficulty rehabilitating the old coffee farms and also were hindered by the lack of security amid continuing civil strife.
During the war many coffee farms were abandoned and some to this day remain plagued by land mines and are unattended, and the coffee crops are not harvested. Many of the old Angola coffee plantations are also plagued by the poor care that has been given to the coffee plants, many of which are very old and may be affected by coffee diseases and pests. Also lacking is a banking system and credit as well as infrastructure to support farmers.
Small farms grow about ninety percent of Angola’s coffee, which is very different than colonial days when large plantations dominated. Farmers typically must sell their coffee crop as dried coffee cherry due to the lack of processing facilities. Everything from the processing to import/export and roasting is done in other locations, removing jobs for farmers.
Additionally, a supplemental coffee plant nursery was established at an Instituto Nacional de Cafe research station, and more than 3 million coffee plant seedlings were cultivated. Extensive training has also been provided in the areas of coffee growing and processing as well as marketing.
Coffee production in Angola is expected to continue to increase with governmental support of farmers assisting the industry. This has included a revitalization program in which the government grants micro-credits to coffee growers. Local distributors and wholesalers work with green coffee importers in target country to clear customs and provide a steady supply of unroasted green coffees to coffee roasters. The market demand for unique coffees is at an all-time high with Starbucks investing in more Starbucks Reserve stores, and this coffee presents a unique opportunity to experience a truly unique single origin coffee. Angolan coffees can always be incorporated in the blends of different brands for an unmatchable unique coffee product. #blackcoffeeboys #angola #neubianjoe #cafe #coffee