BRAC equips over 14,000 coffee farmers with skills in three regions

BRAC Tanzania has supported 14,364 smallholder coffee farmers in three regions with knowledge and skills in financial literacy, business skills and entrepreneurship to boost their incomes.

The BRAC Tanzania is supporting smallholder coffee farmers through Smallholder Coffee Development Project (SCDP) for inclusive and sustainable development of the coffee value chain to boost incomes and improve their nutrition status.

The SCDP Project Manager, Ms Salome Kisenge said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the project is implemented in the Southern Highlands in Mbozi and Ileje of Songwe region, Mbinga and Nyasa in Ruvuma region and Mbeya and Rungwe in Mbeya region.

“The project will develop and strengthen smallholder coffee cooperatives as a key enabler of support services that enable production, processing and trade of coffee produced by smallholders,” she said.

The manager added that the project aims to increase the productivity of coffee by using the best agricultural methods that resist climate change and stimulate trade-led economic growth in the Southern highlands of Tanzania.

“In this project, we also target to increase income from the quantity and quality of coffee harvested, processed and sold in the best markets, accompanied by access to integrated financial services,” she said.

She added that the initiative will strengthen the competitive environment of the coffee business due to better policies and systems.

Ms Kisenge said BRAC Tanzania will ensure that marginalised women and youth are equipped with knowledge and skills on financial literacy, business skills and entrepreneurship to make informed choices on types of financial service and proper investment along the coffee value chain.

Ms Kisenge said the result of low production, productivity and poor quality of coffee has been compounded by unsuitable policy implementation and law enforcement.

However, Ms Kisenge said in coffee production, the relationship between production and distribution is imbalanced since women and youth do not own land, but they are the ones engaged fully in coffee production from preparing farms (digging pits), planting, weeding, picking, processing, drying and carrying coffee to the co-operative.

“As a result, youth engage themselves in the other activities with young men tend to concentrate on other income generation activities and young women getting involved in household chores,” she said.

The project, according to her, is for four years which starts in 2020 and aims to work with 24,000 smallholder farmers, comprising 14,400 young women farmers and 9,600 young men farmers between the ages of 18-35 years.

Furthermore, Ms Kisenge said BRAC enables the smallholder farmers to establish Village Savings and Loans (VSL) that enable them to save and borrow. As per August this year’s report there are 376 VSL groups.

She said the project was funded by the European Union for about 660,000 Euro in collaboration with the Tanzania Government.

Ms Kisenge said the project is closely aligned with the policy framework of the Government as spelt out in the Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDPII) for the development of commercial agriculture to raise household incomes and increase development for people in rural areas who constitute the bulk of the country’s population.

“This contributes to two National Indicative Programme (NIP) objectives within Sustainable Agriculture that are to generate agricultural wealth, through linking farmers to markets and value chains and to improve food and nutrition security, through improved access availability and use of food,” she said.

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