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Burundi Plans to Nearly Double Coffee Output to Meet New Demand

Burundi’s coffee regulator is planning to almost double output to 30,000 metric tons a year by 2016 by educating farmers who are turning away from the beans about increasing demand in Asia and elsewhere.

Growers in the East African nation are abandoning coffee for other crops and the government is organizing a campaign to urge them to stay with the commodity, said Pascal Girukwishaka, technical director of Arfic, as the regulator is known by its French acronym. The country produces an average of 17,000 tons annually, he said.

“Before, our coffee was appreciated only in countries like the US, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the U.K.,” he said in an interview on Nov. 13. “But today, Egypt, India, and recently Japan, Indochina, Singapore, China and other Asian countries are asking Burundi to deliver an important quantity of coffee.”

One element of the four-year campaign may require every district and all Burundians living in coffee-growing areas to maintain a farm for the beans, Girukwishaka said. The board may also pay bonuses for higher-quality beans while giving farmers’ fertilizer and supervision in its application, he said.

Burundi’s government has been unable to support the campaign, so it has signed agreements with international organizations, Girukwishaka said. He declined to name them or specify how much the campaign will cost.

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