AVERAGE prices for the first 2013 coffee auction at Moshi Exchange increased by 6.5 US dollar (about 10,400/-) for mild Arabica compared to a price fall by 4.75/50 US dollar (about 7,600/-) recorded in the last session in December last year.
The auction results posted by the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) shows that a total of 21,036 bags were offered for sale but only 17,131 bags weighing 60Kg each sold. However, the average prices were below the terminal market by 7.70/50 kgs (about 12,320/-) for Mild Arabica.
The New York (NY) March delivery were up by 3.25 cents/Lb US dollar (5,200/-) equivalent to 3.58/50 kgs US dollar (about 5,728/-) Freight on Board (FOB) and London International Financial Futures And Options Exchange (LIFFE) market.
The March delivery was up by 46 per US dollar (about 73,600/-) per tonne equivalent to 2.30/50 kgs US dollar (about 3,680/-) FOB compared with the auction held in December last year. Prices for the locally produced coffee continue to be volatile due to competitions exerted by large scale producers in the international market leading to reduced farmers' earnings.
The situation has consequently made some farmers to abandon coffee production for failure to yield the expected returns, necessary for improving producers' livelihood from abject poverty. Apart from farmers' earnings, country revenues have been also affected.
Statistics show that coffee accounts for about 20 per cent of Tanzania's foreign exchange earnings and has been the mainstay of the country's agriculture-based economy since its introduction as a cash crop around 100 years ago.
More than 450,000 farm families, equivalent to 95 per cent and 110 estates, about 5 per cent derive their livelihoods from growing coffee with an estimated 2,000,000 additional people employed directly or indirectly in the industry. Coffee auction is one of the windows of coffee export in Tanzania. The other is direct export.