Coffee from Yemen has always been the distinction and this is the characteristic of Yemeni mocha. In the current world of improved commoditization and homogenization Yemeni mocha stands out as a product of relic uniqueness. In producing it, the well elaborate source of its success and difficulties in the global market was used as it was witnessed during the economic recession of the European countries. Yemen, being one of the oldest coffee-producing countries, has endeavored in launching trade that is considered the world most valued important commodity in the agricultural sector. Yemeni mocha being one of the agricultural products from Yemen and with distinctive flavors gets the best prices in the world market place. Though enjoying good prices, most farmers are still poor and practice traditional farming methods exacerbated by inadequate post harvest methods hence production of low quality coffee.
The origin of the Yemeni mocha is the subject of the discussion and sometimes is distinct to variations of many species of Arabica coffee. Yemeni mocha as a beverage has made Yemen a unique producer amongst other countries, the country consumes up to ¾ of its entire production. With the following criterion of Yemeni mocha coffee, research is paramount for the stark challenges that Yemen faces, however, it is endowed with opportunities of improving the quality of the product. The paper will analyze and determine the strategies and choices that will ultimately improve the coffee sector. The research also will study the characteristics of different coffee varieties in its quest to improve the affected grading and growing process as well as exporting and marketing ones.
Keywords: Yemen, Yemeni mocha, economic, marketing, yields.
The word Mocha as used to refer to the coffee from Yemen has been confusing to the world since it has numerous meanings (Milburn, 1963). The original species of Arabica coffee have evolved in unique ways in the remote landscape of Yemen highlands (Castle, 1997). Currently the Yemen citizens identify the plants whose origin has been lost by the local names of their origins. Some like Ismaeli from Haraz districts, Mattari from matter are commonly used locally and some foreign markets. It has not been clear of how they are differentiated and little is known about their provenance. It is evident that the various types of Yemeni Arabica unique physical commonalities hence can be grouped and classed together. Researchers disagree which one is the progenitor, though they have concluded that there exist four species which are the Dawairi, Udaini, Buraia, and Tufahi (Vega, 2008).
The coffee has been seen to be one of the traditional and ancient coffees in the world. The main regions from where the coffee is exported include Adan and Hodeida which export more than 60,000 bags of coffee per year and the smallest amount is exported to the United States (Jay, 2004). The processing of the coffee is usually done naturally at the northern part of Yemen. It is dried while the fruit is still attached to the beans and the husk will later be removed primitively using hands. This accounts for the rough and irregular look, which is obtained by the bean.
To farm in Yemen is not easy and this has characterized its minimal export value over the years. However, Yemeni mocha coffee is considered unique hence being the most respected and valued product by the state agencies due its reputation worldwide. Nevertheless, the coffee production industry exhibits low productivity and inefficiency, which are aggravated by market distortions hence increase the domestic selling prices. The Arabica coffee market in Yemen is faced with competition caused by illegal importation of coffee from Brazil, India and Ethiopia. This illegal brand comes with intent to fulfill the emerging domestic demand and it can now be traced even to the remote towns and small markets. Ineffective state regulation of imports has negated the government credentials while depriving the farmer’s potential income and the need of further research.
Yemen is losing much of its connection to the well renowned “Mocha” which identifies Yemen for its quality and uniqueness, which is originated from port of Al-Mocha (Um, n. 2009). It has also been evident that the native Yemen exporters are contributing to the devaluation and erosion of the original Yemen mocha. The need of protecting the original brands and quality is paramount due to the reason that exporters blend it with poor and inferior imported coffees hence diminishing the Mocha reputation.
The essence of the research is stimulated by the need to recover this unique product in terms of proprietary and the general market value. The international markets have improved the standards over the last decade hence creation of broad market base easily differentiate coffee from Yemen. There should be new ideas in the coffee industry that will enable differentiation of the unique flavors of Yemeni mocha and the need to capitalize on the agro –ecological zones. As Europe and USA are protecting their brand products, Yemen should also endeavor to maintain the quality of its coffee brand. In regard to social and economic impact coffee plays a big role in the Yemen national gross domestic product.
Yemen being one of the poorest states among the Arab countries, agriculture plays a vital role in terms of contribution to the economy. This further stimulates the need of researching on Yemen mocha so as to encourage the government to apply effective methods diversifying the sector as well as the economy. Coffee is among the few cash crops which make Yemen enjoy the competitive prices worldwide and this is because of its distinctive flavor and not efficiencies in production. The study will also analyze the reasons why Yemen flavors are starting to shrink in comparison to other foreign brands. It is the reason why the market prices and demand are getting mixed. The over blending of Yemen mocha has led to it, being sold as the latter hence receiving unique niche, limited availability and low visibility.
In this regard the production of Yemeni mocha is declining and due to the fact that domestic traders and producers are weakened by their foreign and international counterparts. The failure of the state to characterize adequately the varieties of coffee has ended up affecting the grading and growing technique (Wayan, 2007). This has resulted to the inadequacy of needs in respect to invention of new varieties that are drought resistant and pest resistant. The Yemeni mocha coffee is also faced with ineffective extension methods and poor cultivation technology hence little additional value to the farmers. With the above reasons there should be further research funded by the government to analyze and study how the Yemeni mocha can be maintained and improved in terms of market base and quality. The ideas that underlie the above mentioned issues affecting Yemeni mocha directly translate to the need of conducting a conclusive research. The outcome of the study will bring forth recommendation to the industry as well as Yemen as coffee producing country in the Arab world.
Conclusion and recommendations.
Yemen coffee is still viewed as the best coffee in the world and this should encourage Yemen to have proprietary terms that mocha once has been recognized. This will enable to distinguish the Arabica coffee beans from Yemen to have a broad market base and monetary value. In order to achieve it, the government and the concerned sectors should invest on the issue of varietals, taxonomy and characterization. To increase the production of the product while maintaining its quality, geographical identification systems should be applied in quest of correlating geographic zones with profiles of distinctive flavors. It is also recommendation that there should be regulations and policies to protect the original species from misuse or fraud. The implementation of all these techniques can guarantee the quality coffee from Yemen with continuous competitive advantage.