FACTS stand as such that although coffee farmers across the country are struggling much to produce a lot of coffee both in terms of quality and quantity the same to be sold in the world market both through the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) Coffee Exchange and through Direct Coffee Exports (DCE) fluctuations of prices in the world market have always been a stumbling block in efforts by these farmers to improve their living standards.
However, the situation is different to farmers belonging to coffee producing organizations that are registered and recognized internationally as Certified Coffee Producing Organizations.
Revealing this was the Coffee Quality and Sales Manager at TCB, Mr Frank Nyalusi when having a tell it to interview with Daily News the same held in his office located at Kahawa House here in Moshi recently whereby he named such certification of coffee to be FLO, FT, C.A.F.E practices, UTZ, RFA and Organic coffee certifications.
Citing an example he said FLO certification he said it stands for Fairtrade Coffee Certifications which is a movement that advocates fairer and better working and living conditions for farmers, workers and affiliated members through better terms of trade.
He said Fairtrade commercial partners commit to paying at least the minimum price plus premium even if the world market price falls below the minimum prices.
“Fairtrade revises its minimum price in a participatory way by considering costs of production in few years intervals while making sure that smallholder farmers invest the Fairtrade premium amount on social productivity, quality and sustainability projects that can benefit the farmer and local community,” he said.
When contacted while in Moshi the Chairman of Mahenge AMCOS Limited, Mr Julius Killian Mbunda whose society is registered and recognized internationally as a Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producer Organization he said his society which was registered in 1993 with its headquarters in Mahenge village, Litembo in Mbinga district started with 107 members and expanded to have 633 members as on December 2019.
Mr Mbunda said his cooperative through its members collect 350-400 tons of coffee annually adding that Mahenge AMCOS Limited is one among the few cooperatives which are internationally registered and recognized.
“This registration especially through Fairtrade with Fairtrade Identity Number FLO NO 24213 has enabled members to sale their coffee abroad and hence acquiring better prices with excellent marginal profits as well as a premium for social and community developments,” he said.
Talking about how the profit gained through Fairtrade has been used he said through such profit gained, his union has contributed a lot to social developments such as school renovations, dispensary building and provision of clean and safe water to villagers of Mahenge.
Coming to successes recorded so far he said his cooperative has managed to attain various successes listed as through money obtained farmers have managed to build modern houses and pay school fees for their children from primary school to university level; the coffee business has helped to improve some community infrastructures and provision of temporary employment especially during the coffee harvesting season.
According to him, other successes included facilitation of the provision of health insurance to cooperative members and their families, purchasing and maintaining of Coffee Processing Units (CPU’s) provision of agricultural inputs to members and providing training to members on the uses of fertilizers, pesticides management not forgetting training on health and environmental protection issues.
Having realized the importance of Fairtrade members of the Fairtrade Africa Coffee Team in cooperation with the National Coffee Product Networks have organized and staged the 1st Tanzania Coffee Quality Contest known as Fairtrade Coffee Golden Cup.
Held from mid-September and climaxing in early October this contest witnessed a total of 24 Arabica coffee samples, 3 Hard Arabica coffee samples and 24 Robusta coffee samples being submitted for contests.
The Head Judge of this competition working with TCB. Mr Frank Mlay said the competition was opened to all Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producers Organization in Tanzania who enrolled by submitting three (3) samples of their coffee in the categories of Arabica, Hard Arabica and Robusta coffees.
On the goals and objectives of this contest, he said the same aimed at contributing to the promotion of Fairtrade high quality coffees nationally and internationally, fostering the expansion of markets of the product; encourage value addition and income distribution through the production and commercialization of quality coffees derived from Naming the Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producers Organization which submitted their samples into this contest he named them be Kitumbalomo AMCOS, Mahenge AMCOS and Kimuli AMCOS all from Mbinga District in the Mbeya region which submitted Fairtrade Certified Coffee samples of the Arabica type; Kagera Cooperative Union (KCU) which submitted Fairtrade Certified Coffee of the Hard Arabica coffee samples while Kaderes Peasants Development PLC , Karagwe District Cooperative Union (KDCU), KCU and Nkwenda Rural Primary Cooperative Society all from Kagera region submitted Fairtrade Certified Coffee samples of the Robusta type.
Mr Mlay who was assisted by Judges Mr Balama Hinyula from Taylor Winch Company and Judges Mr Herman Kusaga from Kilimanjaro Plantation Limited said the contest was one of its kinds as it involves only Fairtrade Certified coffee samples only. He named the winners in the Fairtrade Certified Arabica to be Kimuli AMCOS (83.33% scores), Kitumbalomo AMCOS (82.00% scores) and Kimuli AMCOS (81.67% scores).
He further named Karagwe District Cooperative Union (KDCU) with 82.00% scores as the overall winner in the Fairtrade Certified Robusta coffee followed by KCU with 81.33 % scores while the third position went to KDCU with 80.33% scorers.
As for the Fairtrade Certified Hard Arabica Coffee, this Head Judge named Karagwe District Cooperative Society with as the winner with 81.00% scores.
There are a total of eight (8) Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producers Organizations across the country dealing both with Arabica and Robusta types of coffee.
Out of these Fairtrade Certified Coffee Producers, Organization’s three (3) deals with Arabica coffee and are namely Kimuli AMCOS, Mahenge AMCOS and Kitumbalomo AMCOS all situated in the Mbinga district in the Ruvuma region.
The remaining five (5) deals with Robusta coffee and are namely KCU, KDCU and Kaderes Peasants Development PLC all in Karagwe district; Nkwenda Rural Primary Cooperative Society and Kongeru (T) Limited both in the Kyerwa district all these five organizations being located in Kagera region.