Bukoba — THE Bukoba District Council has selected seven villages to revamp coffee production on pilot basis.
The Council Chairman, Mr Dauda Kateme, told the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview that the project was aimed at promoting coffee production by giving the farmers necessary inputs and improved seeds.
He said the council would provide a total of 210,000 improved coffee seedlings to farmers free of charge, manure and each village would get 200,000/-. He named the selected villages as Kabajuga in Kasharu Ward, Butayaibega in Butayaibega Ward and Katare in Kishanje Ward.
Other villages with respective wards in brackets include Ruhoko (Katoro), Mugajwale (Mugajwale), Ruhunga (Ruhunga), and Butulage (Kyaitoke).
"Under the project, 210 hectares of coffee would be cultivated with each village maintaining one hectare. Also, the farmers would be provided with a tractor to assist them in cultivation and grading their coffee," he said.
Meanwhile, coffee farmers in Kagera Region have been advised to replace old coffee trees with improved varieties, together with the application of good agricultural practices including stumping, pruning, weeding, mulching and fertilising.
The Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Fabian Massawe, said productivity is low because of lack of motivation to invest in inputs and improved crop husbandry, which in turn has affected quality and yields.
Robusta coffee is grown in Bukoba, Muleba, Karagwe, Kyerwa and Misenyi districts in the western areas along Lake Victoria in Kagera Region.
This constitutes 30 per cent of the total coffee production in Tanzania. 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.