Dar es Salaam — Coffee farmers seem to have broad smiles this time around following an increase of crop production, which will also boosts their incomes.
Production is expected to hit 1.30 million bags in 2018/19 from 1.15 million bags recorded in 2017/18, thanks to biennial bearing cycle and favourable weather conditions.
The Tanzania annual 2018 coffee report published recently by the Global agricultural information network shows lack of access to irrigation systems, older coffee trees, and highly volatile prices cause dramatic fluctuations in Tanzania's coffee production. Other challenges include poor agricultural practices, limited access to credit, and lack of adequate farming inputs and low use of inputs.
"Tanzania has abundant land with appropriate altitude, temperature, rainfall and soil suitable for high quality Arabica and Robusta production," says a report.
Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) is however implementing a programme aims at increasing production to 100,000 tonnes by 2021 through improving husbandry practices, planting improved varieties, and facilitating the private sector to start new farms.
Through the combination of these measures, crop yield is expected to increase from the current 250kg/ha (200g/tree) to 600kg/ha (450g/tree).
The major Arabica growing regions are Kilimanjaro/Arusha, Mbeya, and Mbinga/Ruvuma. Robusta is mainly produced in the Kagera region.
Other growing regions which also experienced favuorable weather include Tanga, Iringa, Morogoro, Kigoma, Manyara, Mwanza, Rukwa and Mara.
About two-thirds of the coffee produced in Tanzania is mild Arabica, and the rest is hard Arabica and Robusta.
More than 450,000 families grow coffee, which constitutes about 90 per cent of the total coffee producers and the remaining 10 per cent comes from the estates.