THE Tanzania Agricultural Bank (TADB) has for three consecutive years issued 98bn/- as loans to Kagera Region farmers to purchase coffee and raise their earnings.
TADB Managing Director Japhet Justine said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that 45bn/- was issued in 2018, and 30bn/- in 2019 and 23bn/- last year.
He noted that apart from supporting the farmers, it was evident that the agricultural sector was bankable and persuaded other financial institutions to channel their finances through it.
"Agricultural is bankable and for Kagera Region it has minimized smuggling and exploitation."
Kagera farmers produce robusta coffee which constitutes 30 percent of the total coffee production in the country, according to information posted on the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) website.
However, Coffee produced by small-scale farmers was threatened by smugglers who use take farmers' produce at a throw-away price to neighbouring countries.
Elaborating, the TADB MD said the loans issued to farmers were of low interest rates and, hence urged cooperative unions in the region to pay farmers on time.
Coffee farmers in Kagera Region have been historically smuggling the crop to neighbouring countries, while some were selling them in an informal system called "butula".
Acting Director-General of the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), Prof Jamal Adam, recently said that Kagera Region has embarked on the implementation of a five-year plan to increase coffee production from 60,000 to 200,000 metric tonnes by 2025.
"During the five-year period (2020-2025), the government, in collaboration with other stakeholders, including TACRI, Café Africa Tanzania, cooperative unions, Tanzania Prisons Service and the private sector, is keen on increasing coffee production in Kagera Region from 60,000 to 200,000 metric tonnes," he said.