Coffee Production Challenges and Opportunities in Tanzania: The Case Study of Coffee Farmers in Iwindi, Msia and Lwati Villages in Mbeya Region

Otieno, Hillary M. O ; Alwenge, Beryle A. ; Okumu, Oliver Otieno (2019)

Coffee is one of the most popular cash crops grown in Tanzania. However, its productivity has remained low due to various biotic, abiotic and socio-economic factors prevailing in Mbeya Region. These production challenges have never been properly and intensively documented for better decision making. Therefore, this study was set to assess and provide a better understanding of the current production situation and available technologies and practices for enhancing coffee production in the region. The research was carried out in Iwindi, Msia and Lwati villages located in Mbeya Region. Two sources of data were used; (a) primary data collected through focus group discussion; and (b) secondary data collected through a systematic and intensive process that involved searching and collecting relevant publications. From the research, farmers were found to grow very old trees that were more than 20 years. The soils were found to have low levels of nutrients and organic matter. Soils are also acidic, a pHbelow 5.5. High prevalence of pests such as coffee berry and stem borers and diseases like coffee leaf rust, Fusarium spp., bacterial blight, and red blister were reported in the region. Poor agronomic practices involving intensive intercropping of coffee with trees, other food crops like banana, beans and using generally low tree densities per hectare was observed. Poor extension services due to unbalanced extension agent to farmer ratio (about 1:1800) were found to be one of the causes for poor adoption of best coffee agronomy. Lack of market information and low coffee prices were found to demoralize farmers as it leads to a low return on investment. When asked about their ‘priority training and input support requirements’, all farmers mentioned best coffee agronomy and fertilizer use training. They also mentioned fertilizers (especially Urea or Yara Mila Java blend products) and pesticides (for berry borer, stem borer, Coffee berry disease, and coffee leaf rust) inputs as key for better yields. All these inputs and training require money and service provider. Bundling of training and inputs together could make it easier for any service provider to help farmers increase their yields.

Asian Journal of Agricultural and Horticultural Research


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