Good Agricultural Practices

Central to the future success of the coffee industry in Tanzania is the need to increase productivity per unit area or per tree, depending on the farming system and reduce costs of production. The function of this research programme therefore, is to support the national coffee rehabilitation and replanting programme through effective research in Cost-Effective and Appropriate Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Technologies, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for major coffee pests, and Improved Plant Management Practices in different farming systems.

Research Progress on Crop Husbandry Practices

Improved plant management practices in different farming systems:  TaCRI managed to establish new trials which are expected to start packaging the information related to benefit comparison of using different seedling multiplication techniques; evaluation of canopy management regimes both for Arabica and Robusta coffee; evaluation of suitable patterns of coffee x banana inter-cropping both for compact Arabica and Robusta; and effects of shade on yield and quality for the new Arabica varieties. Also, in order to establish the benefit of using various methods of seedling multiplication, a trial to evaluate the benefit of using techniques such as; grafting, clonal, tissue culture and seed was established.  
 
Climate-smart agricultural practices relevant to coffee production: To collect information related to climate change in the coffee growing areas, automated weather stations were installed at Ugano and Lyamungu, and weather data have been digitally stored to own TaCRI’s long term climatic database useful for agriculture research.

Cost effective, appropriate soil fertility and plant nutrition technologies: With regard to the on-going development of cost effective and appropriate soil fertility and plant nutrition technologies for Arabica and Robusta coffee, TaCRI has developed soil fertility database for coffee growing areas countrywide; and district reports have also been compiled. This included development of a coffee-yielding prediction and Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) recommendation model (SAFERNAC). The institute has conducted new trials which are expected to start packaging the information on the response functions of new varieties to NPK at high planting density; assessment of the benefits of tonic application of copper, zinc, sulphur and boron micro-nutrients to the growth, leaf- retention, yield, and cup quality of new varieties; and assessment of the effect of liming on plant growth and productivity. 

Integrated pest management practices (IPM) for major coffee pests: The institute has developed and packaged botanical extracts as bio-pesticides for the management of Antestia bug. Also, improved coffee berry borer trap and use of local brews as attractants were developed and packaged for use. The research team managed to establish trials in four coffee growing zones on the assessment of the efficacy of Fipronil and Dursban as banding chemicals against white coffee stem borer.

The TaCRI Soil Fertility Laboratory is located at Lyamungu Headquarters, Hai District, Tanzania. It was built in 2007 and inaugurated in February, 2008. Its objective has been to provide coffee stakeholders with reliable and sustainable analytical services for soils, water and plant tissues. The goal is to enable farmers (growing coffee and other crops) to make scientifically informed decisions regarding the appropriate types and rates of fertilizer and other soil amendments to apply in their farms. 

Analytical and advisory services: The TaCRI Soil laboratory is ready for commercial activities; a modern Atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS) has been procured and installed. UV-Visible Colour Grating Spectrophotometer (for Phosphorus analysis) is also in the process of procurement.

Soil survey in the coffee growing zones: Completed soil fertility survey in 16 coffee growing regions for Arabica and Robusta, complied the report and availed to respective stakeholder. The information on soil analyses will add up to already establish database to produce zonal soil reports and maps.