Adapt or fall - the coffee experience
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CTA. 2003. Adapt or fall - the coffee experience. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/04. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/57201
A report from northern Tanzania featuring staff of a coffee estate and smallholder farmers, who describe how they are either succeeding or failing to cope with reduced rainfall.
Cue: The impact of global warming on agricultural production is most obvious in its threat to food production, particularly staple food crops grown by subsistence farmers. But cash crops can also suffer from changing weather patterns, and with global prices for many commodities falling, no farmer can afford to have poor harvests. This is particularly true for small-scale farmers. While large estates and plantations may have the resources to be able to adapt to meet the challenge of a changing climate, poorer farmers can seldom do so. In northern Tanzania, for example, some coffee estates have begun to respond to the changing rainfall patterns, but small-scale growers are struggling to continue with the crop. Lazarus Laiser recently visited both a large coffee estate and some smallholder growers, to find out how they were coping with changes in climate. IN: ?Burka coffee estate is a company? OUT: ?no more coffee in this country? DUR?N 4?08? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Mama Neuye ending that report on the difficulties facing coffee growers in northern Tanzania. Transcript Laiser Burka coffee estate is a company dealing with production of coffee. It is situated in the northern part of Tanzania in Arusha region, on the slope of Mount Meru, the second largest mountain in Tanzania. The Junior Manager, Mrs Julian Mungure and Mr. Isdori Michael, the irrigation and weeding manager, have something to say about coffee and the change in temperature and rainfall, as a result of global warming. Mungure What I can say is we lack temperature data from the previous years, so we don?t know, we are not sure, whether there is that drastic temperature change to conclude that it is due to global warming. Laiser How about the rains, is the amount of rainfall changing? Mungure Yes, the amount of rainfall changes. There is a logarithmic trend line applied to rain data from 1926. It shows a steady drop in average annual rainfall, from 920mm to 850mm now, so on average it rains 70mm less than 80 years ago. Laiser Has this affected the growth of coffee? Mungure Yes there is an effect in coffee. The required amount of rainfall for coffee is at least 900mm per year. The effect is obvious as in most of the years the rainfall is below the required amount of precipitation, which may lead to some effects, such as wilting, reduced bean size and weight, and therefore reduced production. Thus the need for irrigation is still there. Laiser What are you doing to solve this problem of having little rains at the moment? Michael We do irrigation. We have three methods: overhead irrigation, under-canopy or under-tree irrigation, and drip irrigation which is now in trial. Overhead irrigation has been done since this company was established many, many years ago. But according to the changes, we have been doing under-canopy irrigation since last year, and we are about to stop overhead irrigation. Laiser Junior manager, I would like to know, do you have any variety which can tolerate, or maybe can adapt to the change in climate nowadays? Mungure Currently my answer is no, we do not have any new variety which can tolerate or adapt to the climate changes in temperature here in Burka. Laiser How do you think this problem has affected small-scale farmers? Mungure What I can say is, in small-scale farming it is more family oriented. Their capital and labour are poor, leading to their failing to attend to the coffee trees and fields appropriately and at the right time. Pests and diseases are insufficiently attended to, once they occur. These all lead to a great reduction of the yield. And also during drought, these small-scale farmers are incapable of irrigating. Thus the coffee trees dry out. Laiser I visited a farmer in Tengeru, 15km from Arusha city. He showed me 50 coffee trees he had cut from his farm, because it was not giving any profit. He said that there were no rains, and there were a lot of diseases and insects, something it was very expensive to control. In Arumeru district at Sekei village I met Mama Neuye, who is 70 years old, and she has been a widow for about 30 years now. She told me how she had paid secondary school fees for her daughter in the 1980s from her sales of coffee, but at the moment she is not getting any profit. As I can see your coffee is very very weak, and it is supposed to be flowering at this time, but it does not have any. What is the reason? Neuye [Vernac]You can?t depend on coffee now, because there are not enough rains, there are a lot of diseases, no good price, and it gives flowers but will never produce fruits. No more coffee in this country. End of track.
- CTA Rural Radio