Agroforestry crucial for boosting coffee production -TCB

TANZANIA has the potential of transforming its economy and become a leading coffee producing nation in Africa if it implements agroforestry programme.

Professor Aurelia Kamuzora, who is the Board Chairperson of Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), told the ‘Daily News’ that   agroforestry stands as a beacon of hope for the future of coffee production.

“Embracing a symbiotic relationship between coffee plants and diverse tree species in a regenerative journey enhances ecosystem resilience, preserves biodiversity and safeguards soil health. Through this holistic approach, exceptional quality coffee can be produced, reflecting the richness of nature’s collaboration,” remarked Prof Kamuzora.

Elaborating, Prof Kamuzora said the coffee sub-sector is currently leading other sectors in the Ministry of Agriculture, contributing over 200 million US dollars (almost 480bn/-) in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that during 2022/2023 farming season production of coffee stood at 82,491 tonnes, an increase at 23.4 per cent, when compared to 66,837 tonnes realised in 2021/2022.

“The increase in production was attributed to a number of factors, including an increase in the production and distribution of new varieties of both Arabica and Robusta coffee seedlings to farmers for planting which give higher yields per unit area,” she hinted.

Prof Kamuzora explained that the country has earned 235,636 million US dollars (about 568,8bn/-) after exporting 82,491 tonnes of coffee of coffee in 2022/23. The earnings were realised after selling a total of 69,805 tonnes of coffee through Direct Coffee Exports and 12,686 tonnes of coffee through local coffee auctions.

Elaborating further, she said Robusta coffee dominated the direct coffee export market as a total of  41,017 tonnes of  Robusta coffee, equivalent to 58.76 per cent was exported compared to a total of  28,788 tonnes of Arabica coffee equivalent to 41.24 per cent.

As for the local coffee auctions, she said the market was dominated by Arabica coffee – 11,229 tonnes, equivalent to 89 per cent, while Robusta coffee – 1,457 tonnes equivalent to 11 per cent passed through the local coffee   auctions.

Prof Kamuzora said the government in collaboration with other stakeholders, including TCB, cooperative unions, Café Africa and the private sector was implementing a five-year programme that aimed to realis production of 300,000 metric tonnes of coffee by 2025/2026 as outlined in the 2021/2022-2025/2026 Strategic Action Plan.

She appealed to Tanzanians to give priority to environmental protection by planting enough trees.

“Like many other developing countries, Tanzania is already affected by climate change and variables to the extent of experiencing extreme occurrences such as droughts, floods, unpredictable rainfall patterns, rising sea level and sinking islands, which in turn result into food insecurity, water and social conflicts, disruption of livelihoods and major economic costs among others,” said Prof Kamuzora.

Tanzania is estimated to have recorded economic losses to the tune of 33.7 million US dollars (about 77bn/-) due to adverse effects of climate change over the past ten years due to floods, she said.

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