Tarime — COFFEE growers in northern Tarime District are turning up in huge numbers to sell their coffee to the Mara Co-operative Union (WAMACU) Ltd, which is offering relatively good prices compared to other buyers.
WAMACU, which is owned by famers in Mara Region, says it projects to buy 88 tonnes of coffee within a short period.
"We have already collected and put 35 tons of coffee in our warehouse and there is still more coffee in the villages ", the Chairman of Mara Zone Coffee Stakeholders, Mr Lucas Maasa, told the 'Daily News' in Tarime.
WAMACU is using around nine primary cooperative societies to collect the cash crop from farmers residing in different corners of Tarime.
Some coffee growers have been reluctant to sell the cash crop to local buyers, citing poor prices and they now see WAMACU as their rescuer.
"We call upon farmers to take their coffee to the nearest - primary co-operative societies and this will enable them to sell their coffee direct to the auction and enjoy at least a good price ", Mr Maasa said.
He said farmers are given 70 per cent of the payment and the remaining 30 per cent will be given after the cash crop will be sold in the auction.
WAMACU has started buying the cash crop after getting a 284m/- loan from the National Microfinance Bank (NMB). "Farmers have decided to rescue themselves and WAMAKU is offering 1,000/- and before that the price of coffee in Tarime was 650/- per kilo," he said.
According to Mr Maasa, WAMACU will further buy several tones of coffee in Serengema, Ukerewe and Buhemba in Musoma Rural during the same period.
The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) has welcomed the latest development, hoping that it will create market competition for the cash crop in Mara Zone where Tarime is rated as the largest producer of Arabica coffee in the zone.
Tarime is widely favoured with suitable climate and soli for coffee farming. Officials estimate that there nearly 8,000 coffee growers in the entire district.
The TCB Director General, Engineer Adolph Kumburu, says plans are underway to transform Tarime coffee into fullywashed Arabica in an effort to make area farmers generate more cash from the cash crop.
Coffee remains one of the country's major exports with significant contribution to the national development. Tanzania is Africa's fourth largest coffee producer after Ethiopia, Uganda and Ivory Coast.
TCB is reportedly working around the clock to ensure that falling of coffee prices in the global market does not hit the county's coffee sector badly.