Minister for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga revealed this on Monday this week when launching books on better coffee growing methods and the curriculum thereof for instructors at a function held at Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TACRI) offices in Hai District, Kilimanjaro Region.
However, Hasunga said the production of seven million coffee seedlings per year is small as it will take about 35 years to replace the old coffee trees hence he promised that the government in partnership with other agriculture stakeholders will ensure there is coffee growing revolution in the country.
He said to realize that goal the government through the Ministry of Agriculture has mobilised itself to start producing 20 million of the new coffee seedlings.
He said the coffee mini-sector is critical for the country’s economy and contributes about 24 percent of income of the country’s agricultural exports that translates to 4 percent of GDP.
However, he said this contribution is still small as only about 50,000 tonnes of coffee is produced annually, and added that the situation is attributed to poor yields whereby one coffee tree produces 250 grams as opposed to the 1,000 grams average per tree.
He said one of the reasons that contribute to low coffee yields in the coffee mini-sector is lack of expertise on better coffee growing among farmers and called upon agricultural officers in the country to start educating famers about the dew coffee seedlings.
Hasunga praised TaCRI for preparing and publishing the books that were on display for better Arabica and Robusta coffee growing and instruction curricula that will be used by Extension Officers, farmers, and the wananchi in general.
He said the books that are fully illustrated aims to give coffee farmers in a simple language better methods of profitable coffee growing and the goal is to distribute the books to about 420,000 coffee growing households in the country and will act as quick reference when they are in the coffee fields.