TANZANIA Coffee Research Institute Limited (TaCRI) became legally constituted and operational in 2001 laying emphasis on the role of stakeholder- led and client demand-driven research for development. This was not the first time the institute was transformed into a stakeholder- led philosophy.
Dr Deusdedit Kilambo is the TaCRI Chief Executive Director who says Lyamungu Coffee Research Station that was established in 1934 was that operated under the name of Coffee Research Station supported by stakeholders and the colonial government.
He says that in 1930s Arabica commercial varieties N39 and KP423 were selected from Bourbon and Kents. After independence, the station was run by coffee stakeholders and the Government of Tanganyika/ Tanzania, then in 1970 it was transformed under the name of Lyamungu Agricultural Research Institute directly responsible to the Ministry of Agriculture.
In 1980, Lyamungu was absorbed to the formulated Tanzania Agricultural Research Organization (TARO) operated till 1989 where it was dissolved by the Government. From 1986 till 2001, Lyamungu was known as Lyamungu Agricultural Research and Training Institute (LARTI) directly responsible to the Ministry of Agriculture through Commissioner of Research and Training.
During the National Coffee Stakeholders Conference in 1999, it was when the decision to transform LARTI into stakeholder- led research Institute was made. The incorporation of TaCRI represented a clear break from past government-led coffee research institution by prioritizing the role of stakeholder-led and demand-driven research institution.
Dr Kilabo notes that TaCRI is owned by the coffee stakeholders. These include small and large-scale coffee farmers, cooperative societies and unions dealing with coffee, AMCOS, coffee processors, coffee traders, relevant NGOs, the private sector, and the Tanzanian Government. TaCRI full members include the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, represented by the Ministry responsible for Agriculture and the coffee industry-regulating agency Grower members drawn from an interested group of members formed into cooperatives or other associations.
Other owners are buying members drawn from interested groups and companies actively engaged in trade dealings of coffee produced in Tanzania and who are selling such coffee as green beans or after roasting and packing, either for local consumption or for export. He says there are also processing members drawn from interested companies owning coffee curing and processing plants.
The objects for which Ta- CRI is established are to initiate, implement, promote and carry out directly or through sub-contract, research into all matters relating to coffee production, processing, quality, farming systems and systems of husbandry of other crops associated with coffee. Dr Kilambo says that the institute also has to extend the results of the research to coffee growers, the coffee industry and the widescientific community in the most appropriate way through publications, field visits, open days, reports, conferences, seminars, and demonstration plots.
It encourages, supports, organizes and facilitates all aspects of training and extension dealing with the coffee industry, extends, prepares, edits, prints, publishes, issues, acquires and circulates any literature works, research output, establish and maintain collection of materials (coffee germ-plasm), and custodian of coffee research scientific data. Dr Kilambo says that the institute has been developing and disseminating appropriate technologies to improve coffee productivity and quality for the benefits of growers in Tanzania.
The director says that in order to achieve that TaCRI has been operating in five result areas; a well-managed, financially sustainable, stakeholder driven, nationally and internationally respected coffee research institute that continues to be operational. “For the past 16 years the governance and administration has been very well managed; finance-very good budgetary process toward every funder, and now it is consolidated; human resources-TaCRI has a good team, skilled and among the historic team”. “Linkage with local, regional and international research organization has been very well established.
A strong linkage and net-working with coffee stakeholders has been established across coffee growing regions,” he says. TaCRI is currently working with over 400 farmer groups, conducting training to growers in six sub-stations residing in coffee zones: TaCRI Lyamungu in Hai District supporting Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara, Tanga and Morogoro regions.
Other areas are Sirari in Tarime District supporting Mara region; Maruku in Bukoba District supporting Kagera and currently Mwanza Region; Mwayaya in Buhigwe District supporting Kigoma Region; Mbimba in Mbozi District supporting Mbeya, Songwe, Rukwa and Katavi regions, and Ugano Supporting Ruvuma, Njombe and Iringa regions. The director says that the challenge is to get land to construct two remaining substations at Sirari in Tarime and Mwayaya in Buhigwe to serve growers in the Lake Zone and Kigoma Region respectively.
Dr Kilambo says that TaCRI is also required to strengthen skills of its current staff in science and administration. In science, four MSc holders to PhD, eight BSc holders to MSc and in administration upgrading of CPA to MBA, three Diploma holders to CPAs, and one certificate holder to Diploma in Accounts. The Institute has four researchers with PhDs in Agricultural science.
In terms of scientific publications, Dr Kilambo says, TaCRI has over 50 papers in proceedings; 19 published in peer reviewed international journals; scientists have contributed chapters in books-two in Coffee Diseases and one in Soil Science. The Institute has also modern laboratory facilities in soil science, cup taste, Plant Pathology and Tissue culture for reliable research results.
He says TaCRI has also packaged Information Technologies and produced TaCRI Coffee Management Handbook; Coffee Pest Management Handbook; Coffee Processing handbook; a banner on Eight Golden Rules for proper coffee husbandry 32 topics in posters and leaflets for both Arabica and Robusta. Others are “Ten Commandments” for good coffee processing in Tanzania;and a leaflet on climate change and coffee.
Dr Kilambo says that in order to ensure accountability in funds received from stakeholders’ voluntary contribution, the government and European Union (EU), TaCRI is being audited by audit firms; Ernst and Young ( Mauritius),HLB Mekonsult (Dar es Salaam Tanzania) and Moore Stephens LLP and Saffery Champiness ( United Kingdom).
During all these years the institute has been receiving clean audit reports.
By Deus Ngowi
Copyright Tanzania Daily News. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).