THE Tanzania Agricultural Bank (TADB) has for three consecutive years 98bn/- loans for purchasing coffee in Kagera Region to help farmers get their earnings on time and curb smuggling.
TADB Managing Director Japhet Justine said in Dar es Salaam on Monday that of the total amount, 45bn/- was given in 2018, 30bn/- in 2019 and 23bn/- last year.
He noted that apart from supporting 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 minimised smuggling and exploitation.”
Kagera farmers produce robusta coffee which constitutes 30 per cent of the total coffee production in the country, according to information posted on the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) website.
Coffee produced by small-scale farmers was threatened by smugglers who used to take farmers’ produce at a throw-away price to neighbouring countries.
However, the TADB MD said the loans issued to farmers were of low interest rates and cooperative unions in the region were assured of paying farmers on time.
Coffee farmers in Kagera Region have been historically smuggling the crop into neighbouring countries, while some were selling their crops while they were still on farms, a system called “butula”.
Acting Director-General of the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), Prof Jamal Adam, said recently that Kagera Region had 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.