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February 21, 2011

Tanzania may hit its coffee target on improved yields


by Fred Ojambo

Tanzania could meet its coffee production forecast of 55,000 metric tons for the current marketing season as improved yields in the southern and western regions offset lower output in the north, according to the Tanzania Coffee Board.

More than 53,000 tons of beans have been recorded as having been harvested for the season that ends in June, Adolph Kumburu, director general of the board, said in an interview today in Arusha, in northern Tanzania. The board’s forecast for the season is 54 percent higher than last season’s crop, he said.

“Yields, particularly in the south, are continuously rising because of good weather in the region,” said Kumburu. “The south and west weren’t affected by the drought which was experienced in the north.” The northern region traditionally accounts for about 20 percent of the annual production, he said.

Marketing of this season’s crop will end next month because of a decline in stockpiles, Kumburu said. Tanzania’s marketing season normally ends before the crop year, which closes at the end of June. Tanzania reaps its crop from April through August.

The East African nation is increasing planting in an effort to raise coffee output to 100,000 tons by 2015, Kumburu said.

Tanzania grows both the robusta and arabica varieties in the western Kagera region, while the northern Kilimanjaro and southern regions mainly produce arabica. Arabica accounts for about 75 percent of output, with robusta making up the rest.

Tanzania is Africa’s fourth-largest coffee producer after Ethiopia, Uganda and the Ivory Coast.

Businessweek

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