18 June 2012

Tanzania: 'Amended Strategy to Transform Coffee Industry'

Moshi — THE amended Tanzania Coffee Industry, Development Strategy 2011 - 2021 has indicated possible evolution scenarios and socio-economic impact, according to the Director General of Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), Engineer Adolph Kumburu.

He told the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview that the following scenarios show that if the coffee strategy, which was recently approved by key coffee stakeholders was implemented, it is expected to bring in additional revenue of at least more than 150 million US dollars under conservative 10 years through export earnings.

Eng. Kumburu explained that of the total 250 million dollars generated annually by the coffee industry, 335 million dollars at current price, at least 75 per cent would be redistributed to coffee farmers. "This will almost double more than 95 per cent, increase the coffee incomes of an estimated 400,000 households, thus contributing to the reduction of poverty and creating a sustainable capacity for self improvement of the coffee industry," he said.

Meanwhile, the TCB boss noted that coffee production continuously decreases, particularly in the northern zone of Tanzania due to ageing coffee trees and non-sustainable farming practices. "Uncoordinated assistance from projects, research and extended services does not allow turning around the declining yields, yet coffee is increasingly seen by farmers as an economic activity that does not allow supporting of livelihoods," he said.

Coffee farmers intensify intercropping practices which has contributed to a sharper decline in coffee yields or simply uproot coffee trees due to pressure on land, according to Eng. Kumburu.

He pointed out that in areas where no other crop can be used as a substitute, especially in the south and north west of Tanzania, production may continue to be active and profitable, where large estates / nucleus estates allow private sector investment and efficient marketing channels.

"The long term existence of the Tanzanian coffee sector is threatened as the overall volume of production has become so low that the roasters do not consider it anymore as a potential ingredient to their blend".

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