Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Small-scale coffee farmers in Tanzania are to benefit from a US$46.9 million four-year grant from the U.S.-based non-profitTechnoServe through the from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which will be shared with farmers in Kenya and Rwanda.
David Browning, TechnoServe vice president for business development, told APA in an exclusive interview that the initiative will be based on a collaborative approach between the farmers and TechnoServe to develop local solutions for local needs.
The grant is envisioned as the first phase of a larger TechnoServe program, Browning said.
For more than 16 years, TechnoServe has been working in Tanzania with farmers, co-operatives, suppliers and processors to strategically develop competitive rural industries around such key crops as cashew nuts, coffee, tea and artemisia.
“This continues to be our focus because nearly 90 per cent of Tanzania’s residents live in rural areas, work primarily in the agricultural sector and lack access to information, technology and good markets.
“We are helping farmers make the transition from subsistence to commercial production and processors to improve their operations,” he added.
In this regard, TechnoServe will train 182,000 selected small-scale farmers in skills that will improve production and processing efficiency and sales, including training in quality coffee assessment in order to improve yield and quality.
TechnoServe is also supporting the diversification of Tanzania’s economy through entrepreneurship programs that empower men and women to create thriving businesses in a variety of sectors.
This is where TechnoServe comes in to provide technical and business expertise and to get the farmers invest their own funds to upgrade quality of their coffee beans.
The program, which started in 2004, has achieved dramatic results, including an increase in secondary-school enrolment from 20 per cent to 75 percent in parts of southern Tanzania.