In Zimbabwe, a Coffee Renaissance

In the final part of our weeklong series, we highlight how TechnoServe’s market-based approach has helped revive coffee sectors that had almost disappeared – such as Zimbabwean coffee, which was released to consumers last month by Nespresso.

Anna Ushumba, a smallholder coffee farmer in Zimbabwe
Anna Ushumba is a smallholder coffee farmer in Nespresso’s Reviving Origins program.

Editor’s Note: On June 7 and 8, TechnoServe’s Global Coffee Director, Paul Stewart, will give two presentations at the Specialty Coffee Association’s annual World of Coffee event. These presentations highlight TechnoServe’s market-based, farmer-centered approach in the coffee sector, focusing on improving coffee farmer incomes, despite low market prices, and on a little-known specialty coffee that promotes environmental sustainability. This week on our blog, we take a closer look at the key elements of success in this coffee work. Today: Zimbabwe’s coffee renaissance.

Zimbabwe has a long history of coffee production and was known for producing some of Africa’s best coffee. Production peaked in the late 1980s, but dropped significantly in the early 2000s because of economic hardship and climate shocks. By 2016, only 400 smallholder coffee farmers remained. In 2017, however, TechnoServe partnered with Nespresso to restore Zimbabwe’s coffee-growing regions through the Reviving Origins program. The program trains coffee farmers in agronomy, processing, and sustainability best practices, helping them increase their yields and improve their incomes.

In May, Nespresso launched the single origin coffee Tamuka Mu Zimbabwe (“Awakening of Zimbabwe”), an espresso from Zimbabwe’s Honde Valley. Its name symbolizes the collaborative and hopeful nature of the country’s coffee industry. For farmers in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, coffee represents a ticket out of poverty – and farmers are paid in valuable U.S. dollars, which go a long way in transforming the lives of smallholder producers.

Below are some highlights of the global coverage of the new coffee from Zimbabwe.

A group of smallholder coffee farmers in Zimbabwe

Nespresso Seeks To Put Zimbabwean Coffee Back On The Table – Forbes

“The terroir of Zimbabwe’s coffee is quite different from other East African coffees because of its high altitude and lakes,” says Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin.



New program to support smallholders by sourcing coffee from fragile states – Devex

“[Growing coffee] doesn’t immediately obliterate poverty, but in many cases, the gains are substantial and meaningful,” TechnoServe CEO Will Warshauer says. “Even an extra $300 a year in income can provide a boost out of poverty and allow families to invest in education, health, and housing.”



Nespresso adds Zimbabwean coffee to their capsule selection – Maverick Life

“The farmers are completely free to sell their coffee to whoever they choose. Right now, Nespresso is offering them fantastic prices, and the relationship between the farmers and Nespresso is fantastic,” says Paul Stewart, TechnoServe’s Global Coffee Director.