Paulina Quintao – The General Manager of Cooperative Cafe Timor (CCT), Sisto Monis Piedade said they will be able to export 2500 tons of Timorese coffee to America, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany in 2018.
He said 800 tons have already been sent out of the country with the rest of the consignment to follow shortly.
He said coffee production so far in 2018 has been good compared to 2017 and CCT has been able to buy 6000 tons of coffee cherries and produce 1000 ton of dry coffee beans for exporting.
"This year we spent $11 million for purchasing coffee beans, for transport fees, and for paying personnel for processing coffee until exporting," he said in his office, Lecidere, Dili.
He said the main problem they face is with infrastructure due to poor road conditions in almost all coffee areas of the country, which makes it difficult for farmers to access markets and this has an impact on the price of coffee.
He informed that they have three coffee farms, two in Ermera and one in Maubisse, in Ainaro municipality, for processing the coffee cherries after they are picked.
He said many farmers also keep their coffee too long before depulping which affects the quality of the coffee.
He added Timor-Leste has many coffee plantation areas in the municipalities of Ermera, Aileu, Liquisa, Bobonaro, Same and some in Ainaro amounting to some 56.000 hectares.
On the other hand, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Joaquim Gusmao dos Reis Martins said coffee exports depends on production, which is sometimes high and sometimes low.
He said the dynamics of coffee production has also been affected by climate change and many of the coffee trees in Timor-Leste are old which also impacts on the quality of coffee cherries produced.
"We are now rehabilitating the old coffee trees by planting new coffee trees and shade trees to protect and to produce better quality coffee," he said.