Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have agreed to start a series of comprehensive cooperation programmes for their respective coffee industries aimed at improving bean quality and production figures throughout the region.
With the new cooperation, industry officials and leading world coffee organisations predict that East Africa as a sub-region could become a significant market player on the international coffee bourses within the foreseeable future.
At a recent two-day meeting in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, top officials from the five countries' coffee boards, industry associations, and research stations outlined detailed plans for how the region could cooperate in boosting regional output and quality.
Each one of us is weak by ourselves, but if we cooperate together, we form a formidable forum," said Mr Simeon Onchere, a senior African coffee official and the London-based overseas representative of the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK).
The average yield in East Africa's coffee industries is only some 250kg per hectare.
Even with Kenya, the region's leading coffee producer as far as...