Mara — COFFEE farmers in Mara Region have promised to sell their produce through 'Primary Cooperative Societies' as earlier directed the Fifth Phase Government. Making the revelation in their General Meeting in Tarime recently, Wakulima Mara Cooperative Union (WAMACU) Chairman, Mr Abdi Gasaya further said:
"We thank President John Magufuli's administration for banning individual buyers in the coffee sector and we express our hope that the new system through the cooperatives would be beneficial to us."
The new arrangement presents farmers with an opportunity to sell their cash crops instead of going through the middlemen who have constantly been fleecing them. Equally, he appealed to Mara Regional Commissioner (RC) Mr Adam Malima who was presiding over the meeting to convey their appreciations to the President. "
As coffee farmers we have been suffering for so many years and we would like to thank our President John Magufuli for ending our long time cry. We ask you (RC) to convey our gratitude to him," said the WAMACU chairman.
On his opening speech, the Mara RC Mr Malima said a lot of efforts should now on be directed to increase production of the crop from the current 2,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnnes per year.
He said that in order to achieve the objective, the region would invest heavily on overhauling and replacing old coffee plants with the new improved varieties to increase yields also, adding: "Besides that the new species are resistant to diseases." Mr Malima urged WAMACU to focus on how to transform lives of their famers.
Further cited the crop as well as cotton as the major cash crops the region is banking on to export. "The aim of a cooperative... is not eating per se. It is to make proper supervision to transform the lives of farmers, and I am going to deal with anyone who would be identified to be embezzling its funds," pointed out the RC.
In Mara Region, Tarime District leads in the cultivation of Arabica coffee for it is widely blessed with vast fertile arable land and climate suitable. Tanzania is the fourth largest coffee-producing country in Africa after Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Uganda