Timor-Leste’s economic outlook is encouraging - with expected growth rates of 5% in 2016 and 5.5% in 2017.
But since declining oil royalties highlight a need to diversify sources of growth, the coffee industry is being considered to spur exports.
Coffee has been Timor-Leste’s top non-oil export for the past 150 years. More than 25% of all households grow coffee, with an estimated 16,000 hectares of coffee plantations throughout the country.
Political conflicts and underinvestment in the sector in 1975-1999 contributed to a loss of farming skills among farmers and a legacy of aged trees.
Since then, progress has been made in training farmers and rolling out replanting programs.
Starbucks and other multinationals have started to source organic coffee from Timor-Leste, but local firms need to boost production and improve the quality of their beans to compete with established names, and gain easier and faster access to big markets.