TANZANIA Coffee Board (TCB) is persuading local government authorities in coffee growing areas to scale down or suspend investments to be funded by coffee growers who have already suffered from the plummeting crop prices.
TCB Director General Adolf Kumburu told the 'Daily News' over a phone interview from Moshi that the proposal was an interim strategy to help cushion the effects of dwindling coffee prices that have impacted adversely on the local farmers.
"We have proposed the scaling down of investments that will require funding from coffee farmers," Mr Kumburu said. Coffee prices have slumped worldwide mainly due to increased supply from major coffee producers.
In its monthly economic reviews, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) said the fall in the prices of coffee was largely due to increased production of the crop in Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia.
According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the crop prices' downward trend is not expected to change in the near future as the major producers are expecting bumper harvests.
Mr Kumburu said the board has proposed to the local government authorities in coffee growing areas to look into possibilities of reducing local taxes and other contributions levied to help maintain fair earnings by producers.
He said the board was still waiting for government subsidies to relieve farmers of the declining coffee prices. The government had agreed to provide 2bn/- input subsidies to coffee farmers this season to cushion the effects of the fall of coffee price in the world market.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives, Christopher Chiza, had told this newspaper that the government would assist coffee farmers by providing them with coffee seedlings, fertilizers and insecticides at subsidised prices.