THE Kagera Cooperative Union (KCU 1990 Ltd) has appealed to farmers to ensure proper management in farming and process the coffee well so as to add value and get attractive payments.
KCU Vice-Chairman, Mr Respicius John also encouraged the farmers to adhere to best crop husbandry practices, by uprooting and destroying weeds through burning the affected coffee trees, ensure farm cleanliness, mulching and timely use of inputs and fertilisers.
He said they should replace the old coffee trees in favour of the clonal coffee varieties, which are resistant to coffee wilt disease (CWD), for increased yields and earn more money.
“In the past, some unfaithful farmers harvested coffee while still immature, while others did not take enough efforts during the drying stint. This negatively affected the crop price,” he said.
Mr John explained that the government in collaboration with other stakeholders, including Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), cooperative unions, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TACRI), Café Africa Tanzania and the private sector, is implementing a five-year strategic plan aimed to increase coffee production from 78,000 metric tonnes to 300,000 metric tonnes by 2025.
The plan goes in hand with producing 20 million improved coffee seedlings each year.
KCU recently distributed over 600,000 clonal varieties to the farmers free of charge for the planting season. The increase of coffee production in the region has positive impact on farmers’ livelihoods and the national economy, he said.
He explained that during the 2022/2023 crop season KCU had planned to distribute over one million improved coffee seedlings to the farmers.
During the past three years coffee production in the region increased from 52,000 tonnes during 2019/2020 to 78,300 metric tonnes during 2022/2023, empowering the farmers with about 96.4bn/-. The clonal varieties were high-yielding and resistant to CBD.
A well-managed coffee plant could produce up to two kilogrammes, empowering a farmer to pocket at least 6,000/- per kilogramme. Clonal coffee yields three times more coffee and is resistant to the coffee wilt disease.
The word clonal means that the coffee plants have been multiplied asexually from a single parent plant or clone. Kagera farmers produce robusta coffee which constitutes 50 percent of the total coffee production in the country.