The coffee in Ibo Island

The coffee in Ibo Island

The history of the Ibo coffee plantation is shrouded in many legends and mysteries.

There are few references about the introduction of the coffee plant in the island / town of Ibo and, the one that seems more concise, it is presumed to be that of João de Loureiro in his work Flora Cochinchinensis of 1788 [1] .

At the country level, four spontaneous coffee species of the coffee: Coffea zanguebariae Lour., Coffea racemosa Lour., Coffea lugustroides S. Moore and Coffea salvatrix Swyn and Phil. And even though four species of spontaneous coffee have been identified in the country, Charrier and Berthaud. Indicate that Coffea racemosa Lour. Is the most predominant and most widespread in Mozambique, including the well-known "Coffee of Inhambane" and "Coffee of Ibo", among other synonyms [2].

In 1955, in a publication of the Jornal Notícias of the then Lourenço Marques, Bettencourt, after having crossed areas of different ecologies that fall within the existence of the coffee species in Mozambique, concluded that this could become an important coffee country, from north to south, except in the arid zones, in shallow and very compact soils of deficient drainage of the low ones, depending on the choice of the species to cultivate [3].

C. racemosa, which has larger areas in Mozambique to expand, needs sandy soils and long-term drought areas, covering the entire coast, where this species can form lucrative plantations [4] .

However, per Bento, "the introduction of coffee in the Islands was due to the Arabs and Moors of the Coast, who are supposed to be the first settlers, who would have spread it and other establishments of their own." Hence the origin of the species. In this sense, in Ibo, since the actual provision of 2/3/1800 to encourage the production of coffee, it was determined on the island that approximately 150 kg of the best coffee were sent each year to the colony capital, requiring that every producer or farmer planted so many trees in proportion to the land that he owned, to make the activity in a commercial activity, very useful to the residents. From 1803 to 1810, coffee shipments were sent to the Royal Palace of Queluz, and although coffee plantations were planted on both the insular and continental parts of the territory, in 1810 the results were not visible [5] .

In the mid-nineteenth century, the governor of the islands, Jerónimo Romero, said that coffee harvests on the island of Ibo were scarce, since the rest of the inhabitants did not give importance or dedicate themselves to such useful culture. Thus, the coffee tree produced spontaneously, like any other plant in the bush, and its harvesting was made difficult by them being found between the forest surrounded by trees and the fear of existing ferocious animals [ 6].

Gold Medal

The Ibo coffee (Coffea racemosa Lour.) was once, in 1906, distinguished with a Gold Medal Diploma in Lisbon, due to its unique characteristics in terms of flavor and aroma. [7]. However, it is currently little known and almost no value is given to this culture.

[1] LOUREIRO, J. DE (1788)
[2] Laíns e Silva (1954)
[3] Bettencourt (1955)
[4] Bettencourt (1955)
[5] Bento (1993)
[6] Bento (2007)
[7] Vasconcelos (1906)
[RIGHT IMAGE] Found here: O Afamado Café do Ibo Por Carlos Lopes Bento