COFFEE farmers have been urged to produce quality coffee to comply with international certification, access more markets and earn good prices.
The advice has been issued by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation (Trade, Investments and Productive Sector), Ms Eugenia Mwesiumo, during an Internal Management System (IMS) training and coaching workshop held in Moshi recently.
The training that was funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) through its Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP), meant to provide knowledge to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (Amcos) on the importance of using IMS.
“The harmonisation of standards in the productive sectors in East Africa has motivated farmers in the country to embark on producing crops with good quality that will enable them to be certified before exporting them and this has led many to obtain certification standards education,” she said.
She thanked the EU for funding the training as well as the ITC-MARKUP for facilitating the workshop, saying the programme was complimenting the government efforts to improve the agricultural sector in the country.
In his presentation, the ITC-MARKUP Programme Senior Regional Technical Advisor and Coordinator, Mr Safari Fungo, said the training was aimed at empowering coffee farmers to produce quality products that would give them the opportunity to be certified, a move that would enable them to be subject to more coffee markets internationally as well as premium coffee prices.
“Lack of technical knowhow in coffee production among many coffee farmers and other entrepreneurs in the coffee sector is a big challenge; this programme is meant to unlock that challenge by providing certification education,” he said.
A training facilitator, Mr Gitau Wamukui, noted that the certification of coffee produced by farmers meant for export was vital due to the fact that specialty coffee's demand is continuing to rise globally.
“A sustainable coffee economy should be based on the sustainable well‐being of the actors in the chain, particularly the producers who are the weakest link in this power relationship. Global brand producers and retailers increasingly require their suppliers from developing countries to comply with certain social, environmental and safety norms; these norms are increasingly referred to as private standards,” he said.
Mr Wamukui noted that the social and environmental concerns of brands and retailers in the coffee sector have also led to a stricter requirement for compliance with their codes of conduct further down the value chain, whereby he said the workshop would enable coffee farmers and other players in the sector to have extra knowledge which would enable them to meet the coffee clients' requirements.