Bukoba — LACK of copyright for Tanzania coffee exports has given room to some countries to sell their products on international markets, Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) director, Mr Adolf Kumburu has disclosed.
Addressing a stakeholders' meeting in Bukoba municipality on Wednesday, Mr Kumburu said Tanzania was among countries producing the best coffee, allaying fears that low prices were the main cause for increased smuggling of the crop to neighbouring countries.
Mr Kumburu conceded that Tanzania was losing a big chunk of the crop through smuggling, calling for concerted efforts to control the vice.
"The government, in collaboration with TCB and other stakeholders, is working on the modalities to ensure that coffee exports fetch good prices in an effort to motivate the farmers," he said.
He appealed to coffee farmers in Kagera, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Mara and Arusha regions to double their production. He also appealed to Tanzanians to cultivate a culture of drinking coffee on a daily basis. "Coffee is an essential food commodity. People should take coffee as much as possible," he said.
TCB board chairman, Mr Juma Ngasongwa, appealed to leaders and farmers to adopt a common strategy aimed at doubling coffee production by 2017. According to Mr Ngasongwa, Tanzania produced an average of one million bags of coffee per year while Vietnam produced 30 million bags and Brazil 50 million bags.
During his recent tour of Kagera region, deputy minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Godfrey Zambi, assured farmers that the government was finalizing plans to establish a Crops Stabilization Fund (CSF) to enable farmers in the country enjoy their sweat.
He noted that the fund would cover both cash and food crops to enable farmers get compensation when there was a price slump in the market. He urged farmers in the region to increase efforts in producing crops including coffee, cotton, maize and cereals.
Mr Zambi also challenged Bukoba District Council leaders to ensure that they collected enough revenue from various sources in order to render good services to taxpayers.
Member of Parliament for Bukoba Rural, Mr Jasson Rweikiza, informed the deputy minister that challenges facing the farmers included low coffee prices and the threat posed by the Banana Wilt Disease (BWD).