KAGERA Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Prof Faustin Kamuzora has appealed to Tanzanians to drink more coffee to improve their health including boosting immune system.
He made the appeal during the celebrations to mark the Kagera Coffee Day (GCD) held at the regional level in Bukoba Municipal Council recently.
"When people think of coffee, they usually think of its ability to boost energy. However, according to some research, it can also offer some other important health benefits, such as lower risk of liver cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart failure," he said.
Expounding, he said coffee contains a number of useful nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), magnesium, potassium and various phenolic compounds or antioxidants. 'Some experts suggest that these and other ingredients in coffee can benefit the human body in various ways."
He noted that in developed countries people aged between 80-100 years have been using coffee, a practice that helped them to improve their health.
"It is sad that Tanzanians consume less than 5 per cent of the coffee we produce locally and export the rest. This trend should be changed to bring more health and employment. In the next five-year period we should target on increasing domestic coffee consumption to at least 15 per cent," he said.
He also advised councils to establish coffee cafes to sensitise people on the importance of consuming the product.
Speaking during the event, AMIMZA Company Ltd Deputy Managing Director, Mr Bilal Hamza informed Prof Kamuzora that currently the factory was undergoing massive expansion that will create between 50 and 400 permanent employment opportunities, including accommodating between 600 and 1,000 casual laborers.
"We are focusing on increasing the production capacity by buying between 70,000 and 80,000 tonnes of cherry coffee directly from Primary Cooperative Societies. "Currently, the factory produces about 6,000 tonnes of sprayed dried instant coffee powder making AMIMZA the biggest coffee curing and processing factory in Eastern and Central Africa," he said.
According to the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), domestic coffee consumption is growing at an average of between 1.5 and 2 per cent per year due to a coffee drinking culture that is gradually taking root in the urban and semi-urban areas.
The annual per capita coffee consumption in the country is 0.06kg.Only only 7 per cent of the country's total coffee production is consumed domestically. Worldwide, experts estimate that people consume around 2.225 billion cups of coffee per day.
Coffee accounts for about 5 per cent of Tanzania's total exports by value and generates earnings averaging US dollars 100m per year. The industry provides direct income to about 400,000 smallholder farmers who produce 90 per cent of Tanzania's coffee.
Strengthening Cooperative Unions is highly recommended in order to create profitable coffee marketing structures for smallholder farmers.