Kilimanjaro coffee farmers get health insurance cover

Over 10,000 households engaged in coffee production in Kilimanjaro Region have benefited from health insurance facilities introduced and coordinated by the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Society (KNCU).
“By the end of this year, the number is expected to grow to 28,000 family members who will be enjoying health insurance services,” remarked Mr Godfrey Massawe, KNCU Commercial Manager in an interview held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region last week. 

He added: “Our target is to serve 375,000 family members by the end of 2014.” 

KNCU is a co-operative union that produces and exports mild Arabica coffee of Bourborn and Kent variety from the region. It serves small producer members in four districts, namely Rombo, Moshi Rural, Hai and Siha.

Mr Massawe said the department of Health Plan was established specifically to run the KNCU Health Plan project which is an insurance scheme launched in August 2010. The department prepares, implements and evaluates the provision of health insurance to its members.

Currently, the project covers 23 primary cooperative societies with a view to serve all members of KNCU with the insurance scheme by end of next year. The project operates in partnership with the Harm Access Foundation (PharmAccess), MicroEnsure, MEMS, EnviroCare, KCMC and ACORD.

In the meantime, Mr Massawe said coffee production has in recent years dropped massively due to various reasons, forcing farmers to opt for other economic activities. Some of the problems emanate from the two major factors, namely climate change effect and the move by KNCU to stop supplying agricultural inputs to its farmers.

The situation has forced coffee producers to procure inputs directly from their own pockets which is largely determined by the income level.  

“In actual sense, coffee is only profitable to those who apply correct management in production irrespective of price fluctuation,” he said.
Source: The Daily News,, reported by Sebastian Mrindoko
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