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Coffee exports earn Tanzania 294.4bnMonday, July 11, 2016 > 09:58:27
COFFEE exports earned the country US$135 million (about 294.4bn/-) in foreign exchange during the 2015/2026 farming season as the country produced 59,000 metric tons, which is above average annual production of 50,000 tons.
Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) Acting Director General, Mr Primus Kimaryo, noted, however, that the board is currently working to boost local consumption of coffee to avoid over dependency on foreign markets.
“Local consumption of coffee is currently at between five and seven per cent, but we aim to encourage more Tanzanians to drink coffee to reach 15 per cent in ten years to come,” he said during the ongoing 40th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Trade Fair Grounds.
He explained that the majority of Tanzanians consume tea, which is less costly as compared to coffee and this has led to little consumption of the latter locally. “It will take time for us to change people’s attitude to start using coffee when they are already used to drinking tea,” he said.
Average production of coffee in Tanzania stands at 50,000 metric tons (about 900,000 sacks) but the rate is likely to drop to 48,00O tons in the coming farming season, Kimaryo said.
“It is a normal phenomenon for coffee production to fluctuate from one farming season to another and this is due to a number of factors including weather changes and limited use of inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides,” he explained.
On whether or not the country would record reduced earnings due to envisioned slump in production, Mr Kimaryo said coffee prices at the world market are determined by a number of factors.
“A kilogramme of coffee attracts US $3 dollars (about 6,540/-) for average quality at the world market but prices vary according to quality of coffee and the state of the world market,” he said.
Tanzania mainly exports its coffee to Japan (Arabica) and Italy (Robusta). China and Russia are among news markets for Tanzanian coffee. According to Kimaryo, the world demand for coffee stands at 153 million sacks and yet production is at 150 million sacks, representing a shortage of three million sacks.
Tanzania is the fourth coffee producing country in Africa after Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Uganda, while in East Africa it is placed on position number two after Uganda.
Coffee production in Tanzania has stagnated over the past ten years but plans are underway to boost productivity through increased use of inputs, introduction of pests and disease resistant trees as well as setting up of small and medium scale coffee processing plants, according TBC chief.