Coffee Farming as a Family Business

Since 2001, coffee production in Tanzania has slightly declined each year.

Farming systems tend to be diversified with a mix of food crops and coffee. In times of low coffee prices other crops receive more priority. Tanzania has an estimated 400,000 coffee farmers and coffee farm sizes are small, averaging 0.7 hectares. The small farm sizes, low productivity and high rate of intercropping make it difficult for a coffee farming family to surpass the international poverty line from coffee alone. Through the National Coffee Platform in Tanzania, there are a number of stakeholders working together to address these key issues.

One example is the work being done by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Dan and Associates Enterprises Ltd. (DAE), Tanzania Coffee Research Institution (TACRI), CRDB BANK, and a number of producer groups. The group aim to increase the quantity and quality of coffee produced by participating households in a sustainable manner and increase income stability and food security of participating households.

The money we got from selling coffee we used for paying school fees for our children, a solar panel, a television, house renovations, and livestock. We expect to use the remaining cash to purchase fertilizer for this season.

Our future plan is to buy more land to increase from the current eight acres to 12 acres, buy more livestock so we get more manure for our farms and save money for our children’s education needs.

I encourage women to join farmer groups where they will enjoy the benefits including trainings and being serious partners to their husbands in discussing household finance and budgeting.

Coffee Farmer, Sepukila Farmers Group

To do this, they focused on the provision of trainings towards entire households, actively encouraging women participation. By promoting household registration, wives are included as signatories on loans that are granted, leading them to become serious business partners. By empowering them and giving them a better overview on the money situation, they have a bigger say on the household budget and coffee farming becomes a family business. Additionally, DAE offers trainings concerning good agronomic practices and access to finance.

I have experienced many benefits (…) I have learned good agricultural practices such as the correct way to do weeding, timely application of fertilizer and harvesting red-ripe cherries.

Nicola Mbungu
Coffee Farmer, Sepukila Farmers Group