Coffee farming in Mgeta Division was famous four decades ago but stopped in the early 2000s after many farmers opted for crops that brought in quick monetary returns as compared to coffee.
Speaking at an entrepreneurship training in various businesses including coffee growing to 35 groups in Bunduki Ward in the district, the Ward’s Councilor Prosper Mkunule said they have already planted 30,000 coffee seedlings.
He said in the past coffee farming helped in environment preservation and water sources protection, and due to ensuing environment destruction and climate change they have decided to revert to coffee growing.
He said the crop lost its lustre in the 2000s when people started growing tomatoes, cabbages and fruits whereby many youths uprooted the coffee trees and planted fruits and vegetables instead.
The Director of Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) Henry Ngingi said they have decided to revert to coffee in Mgeta so as to make it sustainable and reduce the incidences of forest fires that cause environmental pollution.
Mgingi said to start with they set aside 6m/- for training the 35 groups in Mgeta and Bunduki wards on entrepreneurship skills conducted by various experts as well as for preparation of seed beds which have already been planted.
He said CDTF in partnership with Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TacRi) supplied the seeds and other equipment to the said groups.
“Here in Mgeta the climate is the same as that of Kilimanjaro hence the main cash crop was coffee, people were educated by incomes from coffee but in 2000s when tomatoes came in, local people started to uproot coffee trees to give way to tomatoes, hence we are helping in bringing coffee back,” said CDTF Director.
On his part the chairman of Tugendelele Group Stephen Msimbe said after they were supplied with seeds and other equipment TacRi and CDTF, the seedlings they had grown would be distributed to growers in Mgeta for planting.
Speaking to members of the 35 groups the Chairman of CDTF Board of Directors Eng Leon Msimbe, who is also chairman of Tugendelele Group said they have decided to support the government’s efforts in assisting them in coffee production.