Dodoma. The government has said it will not raise the indicative price of coffee despite reported increase in production costs.

The deputy minister of Agriculture, Ms Mary Mwenjelwa, told Parliament yesterday that the government would instead scrap 17 levies imposed on coffee growers in an effort to relieve them of the tax burden.

That, she said, would help promote the competitiveness of the crop in market. Ms Mwanjelwa was responding to a question raised by Kigoma North MP Peter Serukamba who sought to know the government’s plans in increasing the coffee price as the costs of production was too high. In response, Ms Mwanjelwa said the price of coffee – especially Arabica - is set according to the New York Commodities Market.

She also said quotations on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange determined the Robusta coffee price.

“The government cannot alter this,” she insisted.

Tanzania’s coffee production averages 30,000-40,000 tonnes annually.

About 70 per cent of it is Arabica and 30 per cent is Robusta. The main growing regions of Arabica are in North Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Matengo Highlands, Mbinga, Kilimanjaro, Usambara Mountains, Iringa, Morogoro, Kigoma and Ngara. Robusta is mainly grown in Kagera Region.

According to the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute, the crop is one of the country’s primary agricultural export crops.