East Timor government studies increase of coffee production

17 June 2011

Dili, East Timor, 17 June- A project on the economics of the coffee sector in East Timor is being analysed by the Timor government, which plans to increase production of what is one of its main export productions, an official said in Dili Thursday.

According to a statement from the State Secretariat of the council of Ministers, the project aims to improve management of coffee, which is one of East Timor’s main export products, and an increase in its production could lead to an improvement of East Timor’s balance of trade deficit.

It is estimated that over 50,000 families in East Timor are coffee producers and depend on income from the crop. Coffee accounts for around 80 percent of the country’s non-oil exports.

The Timor Hybrid, a natural cross-breeding of the Robusta and Arabica coffee varieties is recognised on the international market as a high quality organic coffee.

However, current coffee production falls short of the capacity of East Timor’s available land, and could be substantially increased.

The gradual replacement of coffee plants, which have become very large and pruning of existing plants are some of the measures that have been suggested, but these are being resisted by many of the producers.

Pruning a coffee plantation means that producers may be deprived of income for around three years whilst the plants grow back and this is one of the reasons that producers are loathe to do it. (macauhub)