On Tuesday 27th April coffee value chain stakeholders from southern highlands met in Mbeya in a workshop organised by the European Union (EU) in the framework of the AGRI-CONNECT Programme .
Representatives from the EU Delegation, Embassy of Sweden, IFAD, Government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance, the Coffee Board, Local Government, and representative from private processing companies, traders and service providers and farmers cooperatives discussed about perspectives of the coffee sector in the southern highlands.
Under the EUR 100 million AGRI-CONNECT programme, which aims to develop the coffee, tea and horticulture sectors in Tanzania, two NGO consortiums led by Vi-Agroforestry (Sweden) and Solidaridad (Kenya) will assist more than 40,000 small and medium scale farmers in 30 Agricultural Marketing Co-operatives (AMCOS) in improving their coffee yield and quality in Mbeya, Songwe, Ruvuma and Katavi regions. The Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) and private sector companies will play a major role in revitalizing the coffee sector in the region.
The participants stressed the need for open and coordinated collaboration of activities in a region that has an enormous and not yet fully utilised potential for coffee production. As the most important challenges to success they identified the need for about 75 million plants to be replaced, limited access to finance, low price of coffee in international and local markets and obsolete processing technology.
Measures for coping with these constraints have been thoroughly discussed and will be submitted to the attention of decision makers. The coffee sector can soon strengthen its role as a major contributor to national export and position the Tanzania among the group of best special quality coffee producers in Africa.