Coffee farmers call for prices intervention

Coffee farmers in Rombo District, Kilimanjaro have urged the government to take stern measure against traders who arbitrarily raise prices of agriculture inputs.

Speaking at a special session here, the farmers resolved to send a message to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Co-operatives, Mr Stephen Wassira, so that he takes action.

Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) members said some traders took the decision after being forced to purchase and use Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFD).

The members were discussing challenges facing them and looked for solutions so that they could go on with their agricultural activities successfully.

Rombo AMCOS Secretary, Ms Mary Masawira said the government has to work hand in hand with the private sector to revive coffee production instead of leaving it as business as usual saying most of those working on the crop are the old.

A farmer, Ms Lucy Kinabo said many farmers have given up cultivating coffee as they could not cope with production costs of farm inputs and are not assured of fetching good prices after harvest, due to price fluctuation from time to time.

She said if the government does not intervene many farmers could abandon coffee production altogether and engage in other activities.

Another farmer, Mr William Mashuwa said coffee cultivation could be history in Rombo District if matters are left unattended because there is no profit in it.

“Most of us who cultivate coffee are on the brink of abandoning it because we cannot afford costs of farm inputs as their prices are raised arbitrarily.

“Some have already decided to grow alternative crops they are assured of earnings. We call upon the minister responsible for agriculture to come out and act immediately,” said Mr Mashuwa.

Speaking at the meeting, a tutor with Moshi Cooperative University (MoCU), Mr Damian Sambuo said the situation calls for the government to issue subvention to farmers to save the crop.

Mr Sambuo said coffee is one of the crops that earn the country foreign currency, saying it will not be wise to abandon its production.

“It is high time the government gives farmers subvention and also create conducive environment for extension officers to reach out to farmers and advise them accordingly. The situation is not good, we need to revive coffee cultivation now,” said the tutor.
Source: Daily News, reported by Deus Ngowi, from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
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