Coffee Makes Steamy Return as Major Cash Crop in Tanzania

Ripe coffee beans in the farm in Moshi as Mount Kilimanjaro forms background

Coffee, which used to be black gold in Tanzania, is back in business.

The demand for the historically popular beverage rises again around the world in sync with that of the raw beans.

Global agricultural polls, indicate there will be shortages of over 80,000 tons of coffee beans worldwide in the fiscal year 2022/2023.

Capitalizing on the new opportunity, the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TACRI) is now pivoting the bean growing sector.

Senior Product Researcher at TACRI, Amani Evance explains that, the country is currently in better position to fill that vacuum with its coffee beans, currently ripe for harvest.

“We expect pumper harvests this year, because local growers were provided with improved coffee seedlings in 2021 that should be ripe now,” said Evance.

More than 15 million new Robusta and Arabica coffee seedlings were distributed to farmers across the country, free of charge and the improved varieties promise better yields.

The TACRI Researcher adds that, between January and June 2022, the government distributed 14 million more seedlings to farmers across the nation.

“Many growers have been reviving their formerly defunct coffee farms after prices soared on local and international markets,” said Evance.

“We are back into growing coffee but farmers need to be supported in order to ensure production is maintained,” says Robert Mollel a coffee grower in Olasiti, Arusha.

Mollel appealed to the government to conduct more research on the notorious pests that continue to hound coffee trees in the country.

Prices of raw Coffee beans in the country at the moment are in the range of 8000/- to 10,000/- per kilo, which is almost eight times of the previous price of 1500/- per kilo.

The demand for coffee has been rising worldwide following the recent fall of the beans production in Brazil, which is the global leader of the beans farming.

A marginal global coffee deficit of 8.4 million bags was realized in 2021/22, fiscal year according to the global agriculture poll.

At the moment there is the deficit is expected to be reduced as Brazil and Vietnam expect to harvest large volumes of the beans but the shortages will still remain with a deficit of 800,000 bags or 80,000 tons expected in 2022/23.

Meanwhile global demand of Coffee is also being fueled by the fact that people are currently adopting to new healthier lifestyles replacing other unhealthy beverages with coffee.

Arabica growing regions are Arusha; Kilimanjaro; Mbeya, and Ruvuma.

Robusta is mainly produced in the Kagera region.

Other coffee growing regions include Tanga, Iringa, Morogoro, Kigoma, Manyara, Mwanza, Rukwa and Mara.

According to the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) domestic coffee consumption is growing at an average of between 1.5 and 2 percent per year.

Coffee drinking culture is gradually taking root in the urban and semi-urban areas of Tanzania, thus also boosting demand.

However, the annual per capita coffee consumption in the country which stands at 0.06 kilograms, this still leaves a lot to be desired.

Figures from TCB indicate that only 7 percent of the country’s total coffee production is consumed domestically.

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