In 2021 we launched the 'Excelling in Excelsa' coffee production project, with the goal of connecting one thousand smallholder farmers to international coffee markets. This will create a new source of quality employment here in one of the world’s most fragile states. Coffee production used to be common in Nzara county and we want to revive that lost industry.
We run 'Excelling in Excelsa' jointly with Hummingbird Action for Peace and Development and Cordaid. It is one of four new schemes funded by RVO’s Sustainable Development Goals Partnership facility to achieve food security and private sector development.
The three-year project will provide more than 1000 contract farmers with training, extension services and access to quality inputs, enabling them to produce Excelsa coffee to international standards. It will provide new jobs, targeted at women and farmers younger than 35, and create an additional 190 farm positions. We have distributed seedlings from our new nursery to more than 1000 farmers and are trialling different varieties and production protocols at our model farm.
Excelsa coffee is a little-known variety but its taste profile can be as distinct and desirable as robusta. It is a hardy plant, resistant to many common diseases and resilient to unpredictable rainfall, making it well-suited to small scale farming.