A history of coffee growing in Zambia: the case of Kateshi and Ngoli estates in Kasama district,1967 to 2012
Kateshi and Ngoli Coffee Estates, the focus of this study, are located north of Kasama in the Northern Province of Zambia. The post-colonial Zambian government decided to develop rural areas through viable Agricultural Schemes of which the Coffee Company was one of the government rural industries. In this study Post-independence rural agricultural development was examined through the development of the Coffee Company under both government control and private ownership. The study looked at the development and the evolution of the company from the initial pilot schemes, to a government parastatal and finally to a privately owned entity. The study has argued that like other rural industries, the Coffee Company had some limited degree of prosperity in the initial stages but turned out to be a moribund economic venture and finally folded up. This study discusses reasons that inhibited rural development through Rural Agricultural projects by reconstructing the history of the Coffee Company in Kasama. This study, therefore, focused on the history of the company, its performance and the social and economic impact it had on the local community. What also comes out of this study is typical of similar unfortunate situations that Agricultural projects face in Africa. Under the management of the government, the Coffee Company could not survive due to serious managerial and financial problems. As a result of this, the original company failed to bring meaningful and sustainable development. Thereafter, the company changed hands and eventually passed into private investors who have made it viable to this day. The study used a qualitative approach and made use of a wide variety of primary and secondary sources. Among the primary sources consulted included data from the National Archives of Zambia and UNIP Archives in addition to a wide collection of relevant secondary sources. These were complemented by interviews with relevant key informants. The study concludes that the two Estates namely, Kateshi and Ngoli have the potential to produce high quality coffee and have an opportunity to spur economic development if properly organised. Local Out-Grower involvement in the production of coffee at the two Estates should be seen as a viable option for poverty alleviation among the rural populace of Zambia.