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Nigeria Joins the International Coffee Organization

International Coffee Organization logo

The International Coffee Organization logo.

Nigeria finalized its membership in the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and its International Coffee Agreement (ICA). The appointment makes Nigeria one of 43 coffee-producing countries in the ICO. Combined, those countries represent more than 97% of the world’s coffee production.

A delegation from Nigeria recently completed the membership ratification process at the ICO headquarters in London, England. Both parties said they hope the move will lead to the sharing of best practices in coffee production, trade and market development, to help boost the Nigerian coffee sector and improve coffee production globally.

Native and transplanted commercial coffee species have been cultivated in Nigeria since the 19th century, and coffee has remained an important cash crop for the country despite its primary reliance on oil exports.

A recent review of coffee production in Nigeria — which most often comes in the form of robusta grown by small-scale farmers — concluded that low international coffee prices combined with poor farm management led to a dramatic decline in overall production and exports throughout the past decade.

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As a member of the ICO, Nigeria will also be involved in the forthcoming restructuring of the 2007 International Coffee Agreement (ICA), the international accord overseen by the ICO and its members designed to support coffee producers and strengthen the global coffee sector.

The ICO/ICA membership has experienced some significant shakeups in recent years, including the departure of the world’s largest producing country, the United States, as ordered by the Secretary of State’s office under the Trump administration, and the departure of Central America’s second-largest coffee producer, Guatemala, in 2020.

Following Brexit, the UK officially joined the ICO early this year.

Last month, local and national reports from Uganda said that the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) had started the formal process of exiting the ICA, without citing a reason. At a national coffee event earlier this month, Uganda Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze said the country is not yet leaving the ICO, but merely attempting to renegotiate the 2007 ICA to be more favorable to Uganda’s interests as Africa’s second-largest coffee exporter.