The Southern Highlands of Tanzania have a favourable climate and ideal conditions for coffee growing. However, the productivity of current coffee trees in the area is very low. In comparison to Western Tanzania, the Southern Highlands are producing only a quarter as much coffee per tree. Coffee farmers are struggling to produce quality coffee from old trees that were planted over 25 years ago. Farmers cannot afford to replace their trees because they cannot access loans or other banking services. Many farmers also lack access to sufficient amounts of fertilizers and other inputs. They still produce coffee, but far from all of them have access to markets where they can sell their coffee for a good price. Hence the return from their work and their sales is not enough to make the improvements they would need to be better off. The future of the Southern Highlands coffee production is furthermore threatened as young people feel reluctant to take up coffee farming under the current conditions.
Vi Agroforestry sees potential for the Southern Highlands to become a competitive coffee producer in the global trade of coffee. We work with local partners to empower coffee farmers to produce better quality and quantity of coffee that will be more competitive in the market and return higher incomes, boosting the local economy. We are encouraging women and youth in particular to engage in this sector, educating and empowering a new generation of coffee growers. All coffee growers are trained in sustainable and climate-resilient production of this very in-demand bean.
The Smallholder Coffee Development Project in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands (CODE-P) project is funded by the European Union and is implemented together with our partners BRAC International, ANSAF, Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI), and Café Africa Tanzania. The project runs from 2020 to 2024.