Coffee board asks for tax relief to farmers

The Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) will now officially send requests to local district authorities in coffee growing areas to reduce down or suspend crop cess to cushion the effects of falling price to the farmers.

The TCB Director General, Mr Adolf Kumburu said that scaling down or suspension of crop taxes was among interim strategies to help sustain coffee farmers at this time of declining prices of coffee at the world market.

"Reducing of the crop cess or suspending at least for the time being will help to cushion the effects of plummeting coffee prices to farmers," Mr Kumburu told 'Daily News' in an interview.

Coffee prices have continued to plunge at the world market mainly due to increased supply from major coffee producers - Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia.

The Bank of Tanzania said in its latest monthly economic review that prices of Arabica and Robusta coffee had declined along with the prices of most of cash crops.

And according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the downward trend of the coffee prices is not expected to change in the near future as the major producers are expecting bumper harvests.

Mr Kumburu said they had communicated to 43 local government authorities in coffee growing regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Kagera, Kigoma, Manyara, Mbeya, Ruvuma, Iringa and Njombe over the matter.

"We have proposed the scaling down of investments that will require funding from coffee farmers, "We have asked them to discuss holding up or reducing the amount of the taxes they collect from farmers," he said.

He further said they were waiting for injection of funds to the coffee development trust fund from the government. He said the government had pledged to inject some money to the fund launched in January this year.

He said the board was still waiting for government subsidies to relieve farmers of the declining coffee prices. The government had agreed to provide 2bn/- input subsidies to coffee farmers this season to cushion the effects of the fall of coffee price in the world market.
Source: Daily News, reported by Henry Lyimo, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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