The Director General of the Moshi-based Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), Engineer Adolph Kumburu said Colombia and Kenya were the only other producers of this quality.He said that Tanzania accounts for roughly 6 per cent of the Colombian Mild group production, adding that other competitors include the 'Other Milds' Group dominated by Central American countries.
"Japan and Germany represent the two main export destinations of Tanzanian Mild Arabica accounting for between 60 and 70 per cent of the total exports while new markets, such as USA, Italy and Belgium, are picking up," Eng. Kumburu told the 'Daily News' in an interview.
He said Tanzania has the theoretical capacity to export mild Arabica as early as July/August, ahead of the Central American season, a time where the world market will be in short of supply of fresh Arabicas.
He added that there is great potential for the national industry to utilize this position to secure higher price premiums provided that the current time needed to export the coffee is reduced.
"Current transportation issues, marketing process and administrative hurdles have to be considered as serious bottlenecks,” he said, adding that a recent study has revealed that Tanzania benefits from a unique position in Japan, thanks to the existence of a ‘Kilimanjaro' coffee appellation which has a strong marketing power.
Eng Kumburu revealed that while it initially referred to a Mild Arabica coffee from Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, the all Japan Trade Council decided that all mild Arabica coffee produced in Tanzania could be labelled as 'Kilimanjaro' coffee, regardless of whether it is grown in Kilimanjaro or in the Southern Highlands.
In addition, he said, blended coffee comprising 30 per cent or more of Tanzanian Mild Arabica beans could equally be labelled 'Kilimanjaro,' indicating that the decision also meant that coffee produced in other African countries could not be sold in Japan under the 'Kilimanjaro' label.
"This has strongly contributed to an increase of Tanzania coffee exports towards Japan over the last 20 years," he observed.Eng Kumburu has appealed to the Tanzanian coffee industry to consider a full range of initiatives in order to enhance that unique position on the Japanese market, including direct partnership agreements, promotional campaigns, to mention but a few.