THE Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, has called upon Kilimanjaro regional authorities and the public to join efforts in improving coffee production.
Ms Samia said more was needed to be done on the once famous crop in the region so as to have improved economy at individuals' levels, regional and country as well.
Addressing Moshi residents yesterday, Ms Samia said it was high time that citizens change ways of practicing agriculture, should uproot the old and outdated coffee varieties and plant new seedlings that the government provides which are disease resistant, bears more coffee beans and fetches higher prices.
"I am happy with what you are doing in agriculture.
We need to do more. Get away with the old and outdated coffee trees. It is hard, but I am happy that some have started. It is not an easy or small thing, it tires and bores to wait until they start to bear beans again, but we have to," said the V P who is in a tour of Kilimanjaro Region.
Coffee is one of Tanzania's main export crops with an average production of around 47,000 metric tonnes each year of which approximately 70 per cent is Arabica, according to data from Tanzania's Coffee Board.
The industry provides direct income to more than 450,000 farmer families and also benefits directly the livelihoods of about two million Tanzanians.
Since the mid 1990s, the country's coffee industry has been in a state of stagnation or decline mainly due to outdated growing practices, weather, and falling global prices which eroded profit margins and income of coffee growers.
According to Tanzania Coffee Board, coffee productivity is low because of lack of motivation to invest in inputs and improved crop husbandry, which in turn has affected quality and yields.
Currently Tanzania is the fourth largest coffee producer in Africa behind Ethiopia, Uganda and Cote d'Ivoire producing less than 1 per cent of the world's Arabic coffee.
The V ice-President called upon leaders of the region and specific agricultural sector to lead and support farmers in irrigation projects as they could not depend solely on rain.
She urged safeguard of water sources and environmental conservation in all places of the region. "We have to be more proactive, use more resources to ensure environmental conservation.
Use defence resources to see to it that no one degrades the environment through human activities around water sources or haphazard cutting of trees. I
f we are not careful we will miss out our water sources and even if we build millions of water tanks we cannot have the previous situation back.
RC (Regional Commissioner) plan with your team on this matter," ordered the V P. Earlier, Kilimanjaro RC, Ms Anna Mghwira said the authorities were in progress to revive coffee production, in collaboration with different stakeholders, among them the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI).
Ms Mghwira said some new 3,644,944 coffee seedlings have been produced by TaCRI and planted in areas covering 5,346 hectares, with Rombo District planting 2,503,000, Moshi Rural District 915,314, Same District 128,000; Hai District 47,674; Mwanga 26,894 and Siha 24,062.
She said some 40 tree nurseries have been established in all districts of the region to ensure that the crop is fully revitalised. The RC said that some 836,698 old coffee trees have been uprooted for replacement, where Same District uprooted 118,874 seedlings, Mwanga 5,124, Rombo 650,000, Moshi 35,910, Hai 26,640 and Siha 150. She unveiled that the respective district councils have set aside 87.5m/- for quality seedlings production.