Mozambique becomes the latest member of the ICO
The Government of Mozambique has joined the International Coffee Organization (ICO) for the first time in its history, at a ceremony held in central London. The southern African state is committed to offering coffee lovers around the world environmentally friendly and socially sustainable coffee.
The ceremony was attended by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Celso Correia, as well as representatives from the country’s growing coffee sector, overseen by Amocafé, in the presence of the ICO’s executive director, Vanúsia Nogueira.
Mozambican coffee is celebrated for its commitment to habitat restoration and biodiversity preservation. It also relies on partnerships with rural communities, enabling local farmers to benefit from training and access to resources and markets. The country’s coffee industry is dedicated to long-term sustainability through initiatives such as organic farming, agroforestry and resource diversification within Protected Areas.
In Gorongosa, where the National Park was ravaged by civil war and lost almost all its wildlife, the introduction of green beans originating in Mozambique has provided a long-term incentive for local communities to protect a rainforest that was previously disappearing at a rate of over 100 hectares a year, as the crop is grown in the shade of native trees. 100 per cent of the profits from green bean cultivation are returned to the local community.
Similarly, on the misty highlands of the Chimanimani mountains, organic coffee is produced as part of an agroforestry system, which includes reforestation of degraded and deforested areas of the reserve to safeguard the soil, flora and fauna.
These practices aim to preserve the country’s rich biodiversity while actively involving local communities. By joining the ICO, Mozambique hopes to contribute to the development of global policies on coffee sustainability and participate in in the exchange of knowledge with other coffee-producing nations.
The country’s oldest coffee is Café de Ibo, which has been grown on Ibo and Quirimba islands since it was first introduced by the Arab traders in the 11th Century and is to this day largely grown in the traditional manner. Ibo coffee is a rare naturally low caffeine coffee and has long been a favourite of those who knew of it, including the judges at the Gold Medal Award in Lisbon in 1906 when it won.
Celso Correia, Mozambique’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, commented, “This is a historic day for Mozambique as we join the International Coffee Organisation. Our coffee sector is growing fast and is an important part of our plans for the future and the change we wish to bring to our country. It is also one at the heart of our plans for sustainability. Coffee is being grown in areas that include some of the most biodiverse in the world and we are committed to ensuring that the crop’s growth supports the protection of the natural environment.
“The Government is working closely with rural farmers to support them in the industry, and we have created systems that ensure the vast majority of profits go back to those who grow the crop. Mozambique wants people to experience how every sip of its coffee tells a story – one of heritage, passion and the richness of its land. By choosing Mozambican coffee, consumers will not only enjoy a unique taste experience, but also support local farmers and their sustainable practices, and help preserve the biodiversity of the country’s landscapes. Mozambique is proud to now be part of the world’s coffee producing nations. We look forward to more and more people being able to enjoy Mozambique’s coffee in the years and decades to come.”
Vanúsia Nogueira, ICO executive director, said, “Today we celebrate a historic day for the ICO with the entry of a new member, Mozambique, also a signatory to the new ICA 2022. It is important for us to emphasise that our engagement with Mozambique, as with all our Members, is not solely defined by the challenges facing the global coffee community, but first and foremost by the opportunities that lie ahead. Together, we will advance shared priorities that have the potential to diversify economies, build resilience and, ultimately, deliver concrete results for people.
“I am convinced that Mozambique’s contribution, as a full partner of the ICO and the new ICA, will be crucial in shaping the coffee industry for a bright, sustainable future. Sustainability is not a goal, but a path that we must constantly create with our Members and partners to continuously improve the coffee sector: Welcome,Mozambique, to the world coffee family, as the 27th African coffee-producing country to become a Member of the ICO.”
The six Mozambique coffee brands now to be exported internationally are:
- Nossa Gorongosa, which is grown in the National Park by Gorongosa Mountain;
- Café Chimanimani, which is coffee with a full-bodied experience and velvety texture;
- Café Niassa, which prioritises organic practices and works closely with local farmers;
- Café Vumba, which has adopted woman-focused organic farming practices;
- Café de Manica, which is cultivated in the picturesque Mussapa mountains;
- Café de Ibo, which is the country’s oldest coffee grown on the sandy shores of the Indian Ocean.
The signing ceremony was followed by a celebratory coffee morning at London’s Groucho Club in Soho that was attended by a diverse group of Mozambique coffee lovers including roasting companies and representatives of international organisations as well as celebrities and artists. Among those in attendance were American philanthropist Greg Carr, celebrated artist Gavin Turk, chef Mark Hix, three times winner of Barista of the Year Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, business leader Tami Longaberger and Koffee UK founder Marco Arigo.