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Tarime embarks on cultivating  resistant coffee varieties

Tarime embarks on cultivating resistant coffee varieties

 

Officials say that by making coffee a major cash crop provides impetus, and  fresh ambitious  initiatives in uplifting farmers and the district council at large. The decision was reached a few days ago during a stakeholders' meeting that included representatives from farmers, agricultural experts and local authorities.

The meeting was officially opened by the  Tarime District Commissioner (DC), Mr John Henjewele and was chaired by the District Executive Director(DED), Mr Fidelis Lumato. Before the final decision was reached, participants spent several hours debating on    how  coffee has the potential to  speed up  socio-economic development in the district.

"It is a commendable move made by our government and the analysis made by different  experts during this conference  is that coffee could be considered as the priority cash crop in Tarime district," says   Mr Abdi Gasaya, a farmer  from Muriba village. Special seat councillor, Ms Mariam Mkono, says the programme will introduce coffee varieties  which are disease resistant through the support of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI).

"The new coffee varieties take only eight months to grow. The price of coffee at the moment is good and many people are now busy cultivating coffee",  the leader told the meeting. TaCRi officials say the newly introduced  disease resistant varieties produce high yields. The cash crop is also set to get a major boost under the new initiatives  with the support of  resources  to  be pulled from key institutions supporting agricultural programmes in the area.

Mara Regional  Coordinator for Agricultural  Sector Development Programme(ASDP)  Sai Mambina says that  ASDP will in the next financial year dish out a substantial amount of funds  to finance the  coffee production in Tarime district  through the  District Agriculture Development Plans(DADPs). 

"We have realised  that instead of having small-scale  projects, we have to   pull available  resources to support major coffee production  among our people, and this starts in the next financial year," says  Mr Mambina.  Officials say there are  around 8,000 coffee farmers in Tarime district alone, and the climate is suitable  for  coffee production.  Coffee farming is also  reportedly gaining momentum in various villages of  the district  due to the increased  prices of the  cash crop   over recent years.

A survey by the 'Daily News' reveals that one kilogramme of  unprocessed Arabica coffee  goes for 2,100/-. Tarime District Council Agricultural, Livestock Development Officer Mr Silvanus Gwiboha said: "During this financial year (2011/2012) we projected to collect over  60m/- in revenue from coffee production, and so far  we have collected  96m/- up to January this year,   and we are still collecting more money," he explained.

Officials say the buying seasons ends in April and the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) projects that the district will sell about  2,000 tonnes of  unprocessed  coffee during this season.  The current prices offered  to Tarime coffee farmers is the highest the farmers have ever been offered.

The coffee regulatory authority has opened a zonal office in Musoma  in a bid  to  supervise  the development of the coffee sector in the region. Mr Gwiboha says  the district council has allocated 25m/- during this financial year(2011/2012)  to  boost production  of new coffee seedlings in the area.

The money will be used to establish a nursery that will eventually produce about 400,000 seedlings, according to the official. "We have already received the money and the work is due to start soon",  he said.  "There is about one million Euros in place   to support production of more new coffee seedling varieties  in Tarime as soon as we acquire more land.   It is possible for coffee to boost Tarime economy and everything is every ready",  says an  official based in Tarime, Mr Exuper Mosha.

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Author: MUGINI JACOB in Tarime

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