A late addition to the cash crops grown in this former British colony, coffee struggled to gain traction as a viable industry, suffering from mismanagement, climactic challenges and a saturated marketplace. Many Malawian farmers electing to grow cotton, tobacco, tea, peanuts and lumber instead.
In common with some other former British colonies, it wasn't until Malawi gained its independence and the land occupied by the former colonial estates was redistributed to local smallhold farmers that the coffee industry started to flourish, with the rise of organized cooperatives paving the way.
Today, coffee is produced by both smallholders with, typically, 1-2 hectare plots that utilize a central mill for delivering, processing and selling their coffee, and large private estates. Specialty coffee is on the rise with producers planting coveted varieties such as Geisha, SL-28, and various Bourbon derivatives.
Bourbon, Catimor, Caturra, Gesha/Geisha, Population 3, SL-28
April – September