Café Africa Tanzania established 2009
The coffee sector in Tanzania
Tanzania has an estimated 250,000 hectares of land under coffee production. There are an estimated 530,000 coffee farmers in 50 districts spread across 8 main production zones. In many areas, coffee shares the land with other crops, both subsistence and in some cases other cash crops, as a means for farmers to diversify their risk.
For the small-holder farmer, coffee has in the past been a mainstay of his cash income, permitting the payment of school fees, medical charges, and the other needs of the household. With the declining fertility of the soil, lower yields, and low prices of the early 2000’s, coffee lost much of its attraction for producers. However it is a crop which can still provide the main source of revenue to households, if it is well cultivated. Tanzania produces some of the finest mild arabica coffees in the world. These come from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in the North, as well as the Mbeya and Mbinga Districts in the South. Primary processing is a key to producing top quality coffee, and the private sector has invested in coffee washing stations in recent years. There is also a volume of good quality robusta grown in Kagera and Karagwe Districts on the Western shores of Lake Victoria. There have been many projects working in the Tanzania coffee sector, but it was estimated they have reached less than 40% of farmers.
Establishment of National Coffee Platform
After a careful analysis of the sector with stakeholders, done in conjunction with TCB, the first step was to bring the sector together in a national workshop under the leadership of TCB, in order to agree a vision for the future of the sector. This was done in Arusha in 2010, and from that the annual National Coffee Conference was established. This Conference takes place each year, and is organised through the National Coffee Steering Committee, (NCSC) which is a Platform bringing together public and private sector representatives in the industry.
In addition to the NCSC, there are Zonal Stakeholder Committees in each of the 8 major production zones across the country, Kilimanjaro, Arusha/Karatu, Mara/Tarime Kagera/Karagwe, Kigoma, Iringa, Mbeya/Mbozi and Mbinga. These provide input each year for the National Coffee Conference, and representatives from each production zone attend that Conference to present their issues and engage with the discussion on the direction and future of the industry in Tanzania. The N.C.C. and Zonal Committees are enshrined in the Coffee Regulations 2013.
National Coffee Strategy
A National Coffee Strategy was prepared in 2011/12, for the following 10 years, setting out ambitious goals and targets for the sector. This was adopted by the industry, and while some progress has been made in some respects, because coffee has not been a priority of Government in the agricultural sector, it has not benefited from the investment funding which would be needed to achieve the targets set in the Strategy.
A National Sustainability Curriculum was prepared and published in 2015, based on harmonised extension materials from across the sector. This has been adopted nationally, with the approval of T.C.B., TaCRI, and the Ministry of Agriculture, and is now being used by both public and private sector extension services for agronomist and farmer training.
Support for the Coffee Partnership for Tanzania
From 2012 – 2016 there was a programme, run by D.E.G. in conjunction with the BMGF, working with some private sector firms, aimed at improving production and productivity among up to 85,000 farmers, mainly in Southern Tanzania. Café Africa was part of the Advisory Board for that project, and tried to link the work with the regional and district extension services, and the already established Zonal Stakeholder Committees.
Roll-out of the National Sustainability Curriculum
In collaboration with T.C.B. and the District and Regional Agricultural authorities, Café Africa coordinated the training of 180 agronomists in the National Sustainability Curriculum for coffee, 30 from each of six regions, and of whom 30% were women. Of the 30 pr region, about 50% were from the private and 50% from the public sector. The intention is that these agronomists will then move out into the districts in their respective regions, and train other district level agriculture officers in coffee specific extension. This should then continue as those district agronomists train the ward level agriculture officers who meet regularly with farmers. Much will depend on the provision of the facilitation for these trainings to continue.
Café Africa, in collaboration with TCB, collected information from 46 districts on the coffee production and producers in their districts. This data set can become a useful tool for the sector in considering further development interventions, and areas needing focus.