Sabcomeed, a PRF 2021 Bronze Sponsor, is a direct trade partner for coffee producers in Yemen. The company focuses on supplying traceable, high-quality beans.
Yemen has a unique geography, where smallholder farmers grow coffee under very different conditions from those in Latin America.
Abdulrahman Saeed, CEO of Sabcomeed, tells us about how the company supports and collaborates with producers along the supply chain, from production, processing, and milling to exporting and importing stages. Read on to learn more about their efforts and what they expect from this year.
WHAT IS SABCOMEED LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2021?
“We are aiming to vertically integrate from green bean suppliers into roasted coffee through a collaborative approach with partners who share our values,” Abdulrahman says.
The market for coffee that has been roasted at origin is becoming increasingly prominent for producers. It can help them add more value, provide them with an additional income stream, and give them more ownership over their coffee.
WHAT IS SABCOMEED’S ROLE IN THE YEMENI COFFEE SECTOR?
“Sabcomeed takes on the role of providing Yemeni farmers with processing capabilities, specialty know-how, and market access for anyone who is willing to shift from commodity production methods towards specialty,” Abdulrahman explains.
Most coffee producers in Yemen are smallholder farmers. Abdulrahman says Sabcomeed supports groups that have as few as 20 trees; the biggest farm they work with has around 1,000 coffee plants.
“Our aim is to innovate through our own sourcing operation, as well as improving the chances of other specialty producers who would like to access the market through us,” Abdulrahman adds.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THE 2021 YEMENI COFFEE HARVEST?
The main harvest season in most parts of Yemen runs from October to January. Abdulrahman says Sabcomeed is positive about this year. “Since we have improved our processing techniques on the ground as well as having greater awareness about the market, we expect a higher quality harvest,” he tells us.
“We also expect there to be greater impact on farmers through an increase in our sourcing capabilities in terms of scale,” he adds. “Alongside this, there has been experimentation in processing, which will provide a wider range of coffees to meet the demands of all market segments.”
AS PRODUCERS AND EXPORTERS, HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED A CHANGE IN BUYER DEMANDS IN RECENT YEARS?
“Demand for Yemeni coffee has always existed, although awareness has been a major challenge,” Abdulrahman says. The history of coffee in Yemen can be traced back to the 15th century, where it was first brewed in Sufi monasteries across the country.
“A large part of our sourcing philosophy relies on the knowledge and requests we receive from the market for our coffees,” he adds. “The key to determining the range of coffees – in terms of profile/grade, quantity, and processing methods – will depend on what we are able to implement on the ground under specific circumstances, as well as understanding the profile of each market segment.”
He also explains that Sabcomeed is able to easily adapt to different markets and requirements. “The way we adapt is by analyzing and understanding our clients’ operation, size, purchasing power, range of offerings, demographic, and so on,” he tells me. “Sabcomeed is then able to best serve them in terms of price and quality, supporting them to use Yemeni coffees as part of their market offering.”
Photo credits: Sabcomeed