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DR Congo and Peru join the ICO

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and Peru have become the latest two producing nations to be accepted into the International Coffee Organization (ICO).

The Executive Director of the ICO Robério Oliveira Silva met with Ambassador of Peru to the United Kingdom Claudio De la Puente this week, to deliver the new member’s instrument of accession to the International Coffee Agreement (ICA).

Peru’s accession and DR Congo’s ratification brings the ICO’s exporting membership up to 24 countries.

DR Congo has been a Signatory to the ICA since 2009. Its production in crop year 2014-15 was 335,000 60-kilogram bags with total exports at 135,000 bags.

A recent report on DR Congo by the Center on Conflict and Development (CCD) found that conflict, insecurity among stakeholders, lack of institutional assistance, plant disease, absence of farmer co-operative and training facilities were the biggest challenges to agribusiness in DR Congo.

Published in 2014, the report looks at the use of conflict resistant crops in North Kivu, the DRC province with the worst levels of violence and insecurity.

“Typically for farmers in conflict the great danger is caused by the theft of their crop from raiders among the insurgence,” said Edwin Price, Director at CCD. “Coffee is resistant because it is time consuming. You have to go through quite a complicated marketing mechanism to turn it into money.”

Price said while DR Congo’s coffee industry has certainly faced its fair share of obstacles; he is optimistic about its future.

“As much as the coffee industry has suffered because of disease, land ownership disputes and transportation issues, it hasn’t failed,” said Price. “Now coffee appears to be alive and well – very well we think.”

While political tensions have risen throughout the DR Congo due to proposed constitutional changes to allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in power, the ratification of support from the ICO will be a boost to its agricultural sector.

Peru’s total coffee production in crop year 2014-15 was 2.9 million 60-kilogram bags.


Image: Flickr Joseph King

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