THE demand for Arabica coffee that is grown in Tanzania especially in Tarime District, Mara region is increasingly becoming high in the world market with local coffee experts citing suitable soil and climate favouring its cultivation.
Getting a tip, ‘Daily News’ saw some buyers from the US and UK now directly placing orders to buy the crop as a product from Tarime. “Last year, we sold coffee to a UK company called Continental Trade Commodity Services (CTCS) and this year we have sold to an American company called Volcafe through Tylor Winch,” said Samwel Gisiboye, the General Manager of Wakulima wa Mara Cooperative Union (WAMACU) in an exclusive interview recently.
He said WAMACU’s main task at this time is to collect coffee from farmers through Primary Cooperative Societies (AMCOS), adding that the union has secured a license to export and sell coffee directly in the world market.
“We now have a license to sell coffee on behalf of famers outside the county like in UK and America,” he further said.
Explaining how they also motivate farmers to grow the crop, he said a few months ago, they made a second payment of 113m/- as arrears that had not been paid in the previous season.
“We collected coffee at 1,200 per kilo and after selling made a profit… we paid the same farmers an additional of 400/- for every kilo as second payment,” Mr Gisiboye pointed out.
In response, the farmers promised to raise the cultivation, said Mr David Hechei, coffee farmer in Tarime, who is also the current chairman of WAMACU board.
“Many farmers who had abandoned their coffee farms are now resuming production and the demand of coffee seedlings is high everywhere. This is an opportunity of its kind to coffee growers in Tarime. My big message is that we increase production while strictly adhering to quality standards,” he added.
Apart from the US and UK, the Arabica coffee grown in Tarime coffee attracts a lucrative market in Europe and Asia.
“In Europe for example, Tarime coffee has a good market in the Netherlands, Greece, Spain and Germany. While in America, the market of Tarime coffee is also in Costa Rica, Colombia among other areas,” said Mr Almas Hamadi, the Manager of Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI).
What makes Tarime coffee superior in the world market? Tanzania experts including Hamadi say Tarime coffee taste is liked by coffee lovers, citing an example of the continent of Asia, where people like strong coffee.
“The first reason as to why Tarime coffee is superior in the world market is the minimal usage of pesticides, Tarime is the least district using pesticides in the country,” he pointed out.
He said in Tarime out of 10 farmers hardly one might be using pesticides and the area is also widely blessed with fertile land and suitable climate for cultivation of the crop.
According to the TaCRI expert consumers can not enjoy drinking coffee that is grown in an area with excessive use of pesticides. Mr Stanley Rubalila, a government coffee inspector says Tarime is blessed with everything that is required in the production of the best Arabica coffee on earth.
“The volcanic soil of Tarime together with two rainfall seasons is what make our coffee the best in the world market and Coffee is now seen as black gold in Tarime… the demand of the cash crop is really high,” said Mr Rubalila, who is based at the Tarime District Council.
Mr Hamadi also says the processing method and the kind of hard Arabica that is processed in Tarime contribute to the make the product superior in the world market.
“The processing of hard Arabica maintains the natural taste of coffee with its all nutrients,” he further said.
Despite the high demand of Tarime coffee in the world market, production is still low and does not meet the demand of buyers.
“For example, presently there is an American buyer who needs 200 tonnes of Arabica coffee from Tarime, but available coffee is not sufficient,” Mr Hamadi said.
Efforts to increase coffee production Besides collecting coffee from farmers through AMCOS, WAMACU has embarked on special programme to produce and distribute improved coffee seedlings, which guarantee high yields.
This is coupled with many offers present farmers with loans from Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) to boost the crop production.
“Until today we have spent 120 m/- to produce the coffee seedlings and distribute them to farmers. We plan to use more money for similar activity this year,” Mr Gisiboye said.
TaCRI says the target is to produce 15,000 tonnes of coffee in order to meet the demand of the world market by 2025.
Farmers in the area are reportedly willing to expand their coffee farmers if they get the coffee seedlings and this is further reinforced by Mr Hamidi adding: “Currently we have 2.5 million seedlings planted on farms in Tarime and aim is to plant three million more and this can help to meet the market.
Apart from WAMACU, the TaCRI official mentioned Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) as another key partner supporting production of the coffee seedlings in the area.