NAIROBI, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Kenya expects its coffee production to hit 50,000 tonnes in the 2016/2017 crop year that ends on Sept. 30, officials said on Thursday.
Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) Interim Head of Coffee Directorate Grenville Kiplimo Melli told Xinhua in Nairobi that output will increase from last year's 46,000 tonnes, due to increase in land under production.
"In the past year, land under coffee cultivation has expanded by 1,000 hectares and this could expand harvest to 50,000 metric tons in 2017," Melli said.
"We have also enhanced our efforts on training farmers on the best agronomic practices required to increase yield," he added.
Kenya's coffee production has been declining since the late 1980s, when annual output hit 129,000 metric tons.
The East Africa nation accounts for less than one percent of global coffee output but its Arabica variety is highly sought after to blend with coffee from other regions.
He noted that the international coffee price experienced a slight decrease in the past year. "However, this has not discouraged farmers from planting more of the cash crop," he added.
In order to cushion farmers from price volatility, the East African nation has launched a nationwide awareness campaign to encourage domestic consumption of coffee.
Melli said that over 95 percent of production is exported, with Germany, Belgium and United States absorbing much of the output. AFA noted that most of the coffee harvest is sold internationally in semi-processed form.
"This denies Kenya much needed foreign exchange earnings and so we are encouraging investors to set up factories to process the coffee locally before it's exported," he noted.