VICE-PRESIDENT, Dr Philip Mpango has appealed for a ground breaking solution among African leaders to spur coffee production and unlock the untapped potential of the industry in the continent.
Dr Mpango made the plea on Tuesday during the opening of the Second G25 African Coffee Summit in Uganda where he represented President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan.
He said despite the coffee price advantage over the past 20 years, Africa remained at the tail end, as it accounts for merely 12 per cent of the world’s production and the trend in the region has been steadily declining.
Dr Mpango said according to the World Bank’s Commodity Market Reports, world coffee prices maintained a long term positive trend, with the price of Arabica coffee increasing more than two fold from an average of two US dollars per kilogramme in 2000/2002 jumping to 5 US dollars in 2022/2023.
He noted similarly to the price of Robusta Coffee which have tripled from 0.7 USD per kilogramme in 2000/2002 to 2.4 US dollars per kilogramme in 2022/2023.
“Such development has culminated into 466 billion USD global trade value in 2021, with Africa earning only 0.5 per cent of the trade value,” Dr Mpango hinted.
He said Tanzania has continued to devise new measures aimed at consolidating successes in revamping the coffee industry.
According to the VP, the measures include among others increasing the agriculture budget for three consecutive fiscal years, roll-out fertiliser subsidy programme and up-scale supply and distribution of high-yielding Arabica coffee seedlings free of charge through Tanzania Coffee Board and Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI).
“The target is to raise and distribute 20 million seedlings per annum. In 2022/23, 17.8 million seedlings have been distributed so far,” he said.
Dr Mpango said the government has also been investing on research by strengthening TaCRI which is an institute that deals with carrying out a diverse research on coffee production.
To boost human capital in coffee production, he said the government increased extension service provision via local government in collaboration with cooperatives, while introducing a one-year Certificate Course in Coffee Quality and Trade at Moshi Cooperative University, to address the shortage of extension officers.
Furthermore, on the market side, he said the country has introduced zonal coffee auctions, such as the Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) which used to be the sole buyers who are now competing with other market players and prices are benchmarked to world prices.
Dr Mpango also noted that the country has intensified its commitment to make the coffee production more inclusive by not leaving behind women and youths.
He said the government in collaboration with commercial banks has been financing farmers at an optimum interest rate not exceeding nine percent to make them financial capital.
Dr Mpango said from the strengthened government intervention, the country has seen an increase in coffee production by 19 per cent, from 66.5 thousand tonnes in 2018/2019 to 82.5 thousand tonnes in 2022/2023.
He further said that foreign exchange earnings from coffee export nearly doubled to 236 million US dollars in 2022/2023 compared with 123.2 million US dollars earned in 2018/2019.
Coffee cultivated area increased from 218,966 hectares in 2018/2019 to 265,000 hectares in 2022/2023, Dr Mpango said.
He further urged leaders to renew their commitment to the transformation of the African coffee by embracing value addition as guiding principle.
“I call upon governments and private sectors to direct more energy and resources to acquire modern coffee processing facilities, roasters and quality packaging,” he said.
The VP also urged farmers to increasingly adopt eco-friendly farming methods to ensure that the coffee industry leaves a positive footprint on both the environment and the people it touches.
Dr Mpango further reminded the Secretariat of the Inter-African Coffee Organisation to fast-track development of the Africa Coffee Centre of Excellence in Tanzania as already agreed.
The G25 African Coffee Summit is an important platform that brings together members of the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) to discuss and strategise on how to transform the coffee sub-sector in the region.
The 2023 Summit is themed “Transforming the African Coffee Sector through Value Addition” with the aim of promoting the commodity’s production on the African continent.