COFFEE farmers have been advised to create the habit of testing the soil in their coffee farms so as to find suitable environments which would increase their produce.
The advice was given recently by the Moshi District Commissioner, Mr Kippi Warioba, while ad- dressing coffee stakeholders during the Northern Zone ver- sion of International Coffee Day which was held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region.
The event was organized by the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) in collaboration with other coffee stakeholders.
"It is very clear through experts that when you test your farm soil, this will enable you to be aware of which types of inputs to use and at what time as far as coffee cultivation is concerned, hence the increase of your produce," he said.
Mr Warioba also urged coffee stakeholders to continue join- ing forces so as to identify different challenges facing them as far as coffee farming and trading is concerned, saying unity would help them identify the challenges and how to curb them fast.
Mr Warioba also visited the coffee stakeholders' exhibition booths which were set up as part of the coffee day annual celebrations, whereby he was made to understand different activities performed by the stakeholders in the coffee business.
Briefing the district commissioner in one of the visits, Mr Jumanne Maghesa, the Project Officer with the institution which deals with soil testing known Solidaridad, explained the importance of farmers testing their farm soil.
"The importance includes that of farmers knowing their soil's nutrient needs, minimize expenses on fertilizer, avoid over fertilisation, avoid soil degradation and also improve their soil status while at the same time improving production", he said, adding: "In general, soil testing gives farmers information that would help them improve their soil's health and improve production."
The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) Acting Director General, Mr Primus Kimaryo, said this year's International Coffee Day celebrations were focused on discussing strategies for addressing challenges facing coffee stakeholders.
"There are many challenges which face coffee stakeholders as far as the coffee value chain is concerned, especially the one which is related to low coffee prices; this occasion is meant among others programs, to bring together coffee stakeholders and address them," he said.
For his part, the Chairman of the organizing committee of the event, Mr. Dennis Mlulu, thanked the government through the TCB, for involving coffee stakeholders from the private sector, a move which he said clearly showed that the government valued the role played by the private sector in improving the coffee sector.