Tanzania Coffee Research Institute is improving competitiveness of small coffee growers

Tanzania Coffee Research Institute is improving competitiveness of small coffee growers

Previously my parents were planting traditional varieties of coffee but these were vulnerable to rust disease. With the new varieties from TaCRI, there is no need for fungicides. Production has increased, costs reduced and yields are high. In 2013, my yield was 300 kg but this year I expect 1000 kg.

Dida C. Mallya, coffee grower

CONTEXT

Through the Trade and Agriculture Support Programme (Phase II), the EU supports improvements in five selected sub-sectors of the Tanzanian economy, including coffee. In the world coffee market, Tanzania's competitive advantage lies in the production of consistently high volumes of quality coffee. The challenge now is access to planting materials of improved varieties of coffee and the adoption of good agricultural practices. To meet these challenges, the EU has been supporting the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) since 2001.

OBJECTIVES

  • Build on previous EU supports to TaCRI which has helped to improve coffee production and quality
  • Increase the ability of smallholder coffee growers to consistently produce increased volumes of high quality coffee
  • Improve smallholders’ access and competitiveness in the market

RESULTS

  • Improved adoption of appropriate technologies by smallholder coffee growers to increase production of quality coffee, competitiveness and incomes
  • Mapping of smallholders' socio-economic constraints, production costs and profitability
  • Strengthening partnerships among coffee stakeholders

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Coffee contributes approximately 5% of Tanzania's total export earnings and 24% of the country’s total crop export earnings
  • TaCRI is providing support to small coffee growers who produce about 95% Tanzanian coffee
  • The EU has supported TaCRI since 2001. This period of funding for February 2014 - May 2015 represents the most recent phase of this support

TESTIMONY

Improved varieties of seedlings for higher coffee production

Constituted in 2001, TaCRI is a private institute for demand-led research for development. Previously, research was led by the government and growers considered that this research did not address their most pressing problems: issues of low coffee productivity, high costs of production and low coffee prices. Growers wanted research which adressed these issues to improve the profitability of coffee growing. 

Arabica coffee is vulnerable to coffee rust and coffee berry disease. Each of these diseases can cause yield losses of upto 80%. Growers spent more than 50% of their production costs to control these two diseases, contributing to high costs of production. TaCRI's immediate effort was to address the management of these two diseases by developing resistant varieties. We have been very successful, developing 19 arabica coffee hybrids which combine high productivity with good beverage quality and resistance to these two diseases. That is an outstanding accomplishment.

For robusta coffee, the pressing problem was coffee wilt disease. The disease kills the robusta tree and therefore reduces production by 100%. We have produced four robusta coffee varieties that combine resistance to coffee wilt disease with good beverage quality and high productivity. In total, we have 23 improved varieties now available for small coffee growers.

The challenge we are facing now is the accelerated multiplication and distribution of these high yielding varieties of seedling to meet the high demand from growers.

James M. Teri, TaCRI Chief Executive Director