|Category:||Environmental / Agronomical|
In 2000 Mbinga was producing 6,000 MT of coffee and was the country’s 4th largest coffee region. By 2018/19 production had grown to an impressive 17,000 MT, placing Mbinga in poll position. This meteoric rise was due to good soil, plenty of water and space. Many companies spent years developing post-harvest processing knowledge; increasing demand reflected the improved quality. The increase in coffee production is a direct result of the better economic returns offered by coffee over other rival cash crops. These returns were made possible by markets that offered good prices and the environment that provided satisfactory yields.
Mbinga’s production has almost tripled in less than two decades. The area that accommodated this expansion was often forest, and trees that would have provided vital shade were often felled, with farmers suspecting them to be absorbing too much water from the soil. Populations that have flourished from coffee farming are now taking over new areas of land for cultivation. Mbinga is starting to feel the effects of poor agronomy and a more volatile / less predictable climate. Springs that traditionally have flowed all year round had become seasonal. Indigenous trees have disappeared at an alarming rate. Wildlife has suffered. Soil health has deteriorated. The water and soil that were the foundation of Mbinga’s coffee revolution are deteriorating, good farming and environmental stewardship has never been more paramount.
Kijani Hai (CTCS’s fully owned Tanzania Export company) has put together a schedule to plant trees amongst our partnered farmer groups. Kijani Hai is establishing a seedling nursery where the trees can be supported until they are in good condition to be distributed. Our goal is to distribute at least 6 trees per year to each of our 3,000 farmers with whom we work. We will be focusing on Macadamia and indigenous trees as well as offering Avocado and Coffee trees at the nursery. The attraction of the Macadamia & Avocado trees is the intercropping revenue they can generate due to a very good local and international demand. We see the distribution of indigenous trees as an important part of reforesting, especially in terms of rebuilding habitats for local wildlife. This benefits both coffee farming and the environment.