“Our aim is to revive the coffee sector in Mara region, and Serengeti is one of targetted districts,” says TaCRI, Programme Manager of Mara, Ms Sheila Mdemu. Ms Mdemu says other districts under Mara include, Tarime, Rorya, Musoma Rural, Ukerewe, Geita and Sengerema.
Some farmers in Serengeti district have already embarked on the production of improved coffee seedlings with support from TaCRI in collaboration with Serengeti District Council. The farmers are from Mbaribali and Kenyamonta villages. “
We conducted training on how to cultivate the new varieties last year and Serengeti district council showed interest in chipping in towards starting nurseries for the coffee plants. Coffee farming is not as popular in Serengeti as in neighbouring Tarime district where TaCRI is already supporting coffee growers,” explained Ms Mdemu.
Old coffee plants have been replaced by the new coffee improved varieties, according to Ms Mdemu.The improved varieties have a high yield and are resistant to diseases such as the coffee berry disease. Tarime is the largest producer of coffee in Mara and hundreds of farmers have started reaping fruits of the improved coffee varieties. The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) projects that the district will sell over 2000 tonnes of unprocessed coffee before the end of April this year.
Farmers are happy with the current prices offered to them by local buyers. A survey conducted by the ‘Daily News’ over the weekend indicates that one kilogramme of un processed Arabica coffee, for example, goes for 2100/-, the highest ever offered to farmers in the area. Observers say the significant successes registered by coffee sector is also attributed to the decision by Tanzania Coffee Board to open up a regional office in Mara region in order to supervise the development of the coffee sector in the area.
The coffee regulator is keeping a close eye on coffee buyers who in the past were accused of conning farmers in the area.The aim is to ensure quality coffee production that can easily secure both the local and international markets.