Victa Akulumuka, agricultural expert from Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI)-Ugano centre in Mbinga District made the advice when speaking at the just-ended Nane Nane Agricultural Exhibition at Msamala grounds in Songea Municipality.
“It is high time for farmers to use improved coffee seedlings, which ensure them better yields,” he said, noting that the region has many areas which are fit for coffee farming, which has been proved to be an effective tool to address poverty and boost country’s economy.
Akulumuka urged farmers to adhere to coffee agronomic practices such as mulching, stumping, pruning and de-sacking, and post-harvest handling as well as proper processing of coffee beans, soil and water conservation.
“This will ensure farmers achieve their desired results, whereby one plant can produce three kg, meaning that a famer can get 1,500kgs per acre of 540 plants,” the expert said.
He also encouraged extension officers to make closer follow-ups and educate farmers on better coffee farming techniques to increase productivity.
Citing examples, Akulumula said Liganga area in Songea District at Aviv coffee farm wasn’t used for coffee farming but now it is one of highly productive areas in the region.
Apart from Mbinga District, other areas which are fit for coffee farming in the region include Songea District particularly in Liganga, Mbingamhalule, Kizuka, Parangu Litisha, Ndongosi, Mpitimbi and Madaba wards.
TaCRI- Ugano centre provide coffee seedlings and technical-know-how free of charge to farmers in the region.
Coffee is Tanzania's largest export crop. Tanzanian coffee production averages between 30-40,000 metric tonnes annually of which approximately 70% is Arabica and 30% is Robusta.