Coffee production in Kilimanjaro region under scrutiny


6th December 2013

Coffee crop is said to be introduced in the Kilimanjaro region by the British colonialists in the 1920s leading to the formation of the Kilimanjaro planters Association in those years. The association was to demand the rights of the farmers but the association later ventured into political freedom agitation.

Coffee production has resulted in the socio- economic development of the people of Kilimanjaro region since it’s inception in the 1920s. To discuss the matter, let us start with a focus on the details given by the longtime farmer of coffee found in the Uru ward in Moshi – rural district , Aron Kismayu. The man disclosed that he inherited coffee production from his parents and started his own production in the 1950s.

Aron Kismayu continued saying that he managed to acquire agricultural skills from one agricultural institution in Kibosho ward in Moshi rural district. After the training he engaged in coffee production. To him coffee production has a great contribution to his socio- economic development.

Due to the income from coffee sales he managed to buy a motor-driven machine for peeling the raw coffee as a way to simplify the agricultural task.

He managed to build a permanent house due to coffee production. Also he bought farms due to income from coffee production. On top of that he purchased a motor car which enabled him to travel.

The farms generate income for him as people rent for money so that they can cultivate different crops. The paying of school fees has been made simple due to income from coffee sales. Kismayu said that coffee production has geared much his socio-economic development as he retains 10 m/- in his bank account due to his sources of income which have evoked from coffee production.

If Kismayu has managed to benefit from coffee production also the today’s generation can do the same. But the embarrassing issue is that Kismayus farm has declined due to several factors including lack of support from KNCU and the government in general . It is also perceptible that climatic changes have predisposed coffee production to it’s decline but the government is still effective in tackling the problem.

It is obvious that the success of KNCU has resulted from the sweat of the coffee formers of the Kilimanjaro region. The question of the day is, are the KNCU’S assets of any importance to the farmers? In the past years the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU) used to provide subsidies to the farmers in the form of fertilizers and other facilities such as back sprayers but nowadays the subsidies are rare if not unavailable. Actually the government should account for this.

Since the existence of KNCU in 1984 to the 2010/11 season, the seasons from 2001/02 to 2010/11 have registered poor harvests of below 3 million kgs per season compared to 19 million kgs in the 1984/85 season . When I visited the Tanganyika coffee curing company limited situated in Moshi -urban area, one of the managers told me that there are 32 small cooperative unions in Kilimanjaro region which export coffee on their own but it is undoubted that their effect is negligible as their disengagement from KNCU cannot lead to a tremendous fall by 16 million kgs in the coffee collections by KNCU.

The coffee production is affected by several factors including climate but also the government owes her support due to the fact that the climate has not been unfavorable for the whole period of falling in production.

Let us again eye on the price statistics for the ten years from 2001/02 to 2010/11 to establish another analysis base for the main topic . The statistics are as follows price being per a kilo of coffee
2001/02 = 732/-, 2002/03 = 882/-, 2003 /04 = 1089/-.
2004/05 = 1599/-, 2005/06 = 1949/-, 2006/07 = 2153/-.
2007/08 = 2635/-, 2008/09 = 2949/-, 2009/10 = 3501/-.
2010/11 = 5524/-. The 2010/11 season has been the best season in price for the ten years of consideration. The strange thing is that the price has fallen to 2500/- per kgs The price has been rising for the whole period from 2001 to 2011. Why the price has dropped ? The government should account for this.

The inflation rate has been increasing year after year and the price for coffee was rising . Due to this life was not so bad though has not become so good on the soil of Tanzania but life becomes bad when the price for other commodities rise while that of coffee falls.

How will the farmers of Kilimanjaro region afford cost of living while still depending on coffee crop? We need to have deep look on this because things are no longer normal and the destitution hunts us.

Mr. Kismayu on his side suggested that on improving the coffee production in Kilimanjaro region, the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperation Union (KNCU) has to proved subsidies to the farmers as it was the custom previously.

Also the government and the general public should encourage youths to engage in coffee production. He pointed out that the government should encourage irrigation schemes as there is problem in rainfall availability nowadays. I agree to Kismayus opinion as he has a good experience with coffee crop.

As the one exposing the matter to the policy makers and the general public, I purpose the government to increase the value of coffee by promoting local processing and manufacture of coffee so as to get high value for the exports . Also the government should encourage the farmers to form unions which will sale coffee directly to foreign markets so as to avoid profiteering by exporters.

Today we have Kili music tour for promoting music industry in Tanzania. This is good but we many have let say Serengeti agricultural tour to visit best small scale Coffee farmers and award them as a way to promote coffee production. This may lead to a quick pace of development in the coffee production which means more income to the formers and hence better living conditions. Let us promote coffee from Kilimanjaro region to boost tourism development due to the highest mountain found in the region.

As the Kilimanjaro region develops due to coffee production is as the whole Tanzania develops.