Moshi — SINCE the introduction of new hybrid coffee varieties in 2005 that combine resistance to coffee berry disease (CBD) and leaf rust (CLR), high yielding and good cup quality, the demand for those varieties have been increasing.
The Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) Chief Executive Director, Prof James Teri, said to meet the increasing demand, TaCRI is supporting farmers and institutions to produce their own seedlings. Prof Teri has singled out Mr Zebedayo Swai as a leading example, saying Mr Swai has worked in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFSC) for 39 years.
He said Mr Swai was currently carrying out coffee seedlings multiplication activities in Arumeru district which he started in 2006 after his retirement. Prof Teri noted that since 2006, he has multiplied and distributed 500,000 seedlings to coffee growers in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions.
Mr Swai told this newspaper the demand was high because farmers have realized their benefits and called upon other stakeholders, including coffee producing district councils to invest in hybrid seedlings multiplication as that will help to raise revenues collected from coffee sales.
He says his current capacity was to multiply and distribute 100,000 seedlings of traditional coffee varieties per year, revealing that TaCRI has contracted him to multiply 50,000 seedlings of traditional coffee varieties for grafting with the improved coffee varieties.
According to Prof Teri, TaCRI supports Mr Swai through provision of technical advice and inputs, such as watering cans, coffee seeds, poly coffee, poly bags, wheelbarrows and money-maker pumps, which are used in seedlings multiplication activities.
"To meet the increased demand for improved coffee varieties, Mr Swai intends to produce 500,000 seedlings in five years for distribution to growers in the northern zone," he said. "This is a good example of TaCRI's strategy to involve many stakeholders to support multiplication and availability of hybrid seedlings to coffee growers which is a key to green revolution in the Tanzanian coffee sub-sector" he added.