THE government has expressed its commitment to continue investing heavily in the coffee sector by improving the business environment, facilitating the production of quality seedlings as well as equipping farmers with prerequisite skills and tools to improve production and income.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe made the statement in the House while responding to a question posed by Anatropia Theones (Special Seats, Chadema). He said that the government is determined to transform the sector to enable it contribute more to the country’s economy by fighting poverty and create employment opportunities.
Bashe said that the government will also invest in promoting use of quality seeds, processing plants to facilitate production of quality coffee to cater for the local and international market.
In her basic question the lawmaker wanted to know about the government’s plans to change the current coffee procurement system so as to ensure farmers benefit from the crop.
“It is better now to allow farmers to sell coffee on their own instead of selling through cooperative unions which have been delaying their payments and thus affects their farming programmes,” she said.
Responding, the deputy minister said the cooperative system was a basic way of supporting farmers’ access to the market for their produce, insisting that the government has no plan to do away with the system.
He said the government has been taking several measures to ensure farmers benefit from the crop which includes linking them to buyers who purchase their crops at a fair price as well as educating them on proper farming practices.
Mr Bashe acknowledged that in order to build a competitive and sustainable coffee sector, it is crucial to increase the value chain efficiency through optimisation of the internal marketing system and improvement of the overall business environment.
He said that due to the measures taken by the government and stakeholders to improve the sector, coffee production has continued to improve every year.
Mr Bashe said that production of coffee rose to 67,676 tonnes in March, this year from 59,000 tonnes in the 2019/20 farming season.
“Kagera Region has produced 39,667 tonnes (58.8 per cent) of all produced coffee in the 2020/21 season including the 19,572.8 tonnes produces in Kyerwa District,” he said.