Members of the AMCOS source their coffee seedlings from the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute and follow specific planting guidelines to ensure successfully coffee production. Each farm is managed with regular weeding, pruning, spraying, and application of fertilizer. Soil health is maintained with the application of mulch whilst pests and diseases are carefully monitored. Agricultural advice is offered to each member via farmer training programs and field visits from the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute and Coffee Management Services.
The AMCOS itself is managed by an elected board with members who oversee the cooperative. There is a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and a secretary, helping ensure that each member is profitably growing coffee and maintaining a sustainable livelihood.
Some of the major threats faced by these producers include a lack of access to inputs, difficulty accessing credit, poor roads and infrastructure, little knowledge on budgeting/running a coffee farm and climate change. These threats are being addressed with the trainings being offered by the AMCOS to help equip producers with the tools necessary to produce profitable coffee despite looming obstacles.
The harvest generally begins with each producer handpicking ripe cherries and delivering to the Nangondo washing station. Here the cherries are sorted, washed, and then de-pulped. This includes feeding the cherries into a Makinnnon disc-pulper or Penagos eco-pulper to detach the exterior pulp from the coffee seed. What remains is a sticky mucilage that will break down thanks to the following fermentation step as the coffee rests in water to break down the sugary skin. Next, the coffee is pushed through washing/grading channels where floating coffee is removed to maintain quality. One final dunk in water occurs before being evenly dispersed on raised beds or drying tables to dry in the open sun. The coffee stays here for several weeks until the moisture content reaches 11.5%.
Each AMCOS working with Dormans, our exporting partners in Tanzania, then deliver this dried parchment to the dry mill. Here, the dry exterior parchment is removed, and the coffee is graded to separate lots based on quality. Finally, the coffee is bagged and rested prior to export.
Kenya’s less well-known neighbour produces an astoundingly similar-tasting coffee in a somewhat similar landscape. Coffee is marketed by both an auction system organised by the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) and direct sale.
Arabica seedlings were first introduced to the country from Réunion Island (then known as Bourbon) and planted in the Bayamoyo and Mogoro regions (fairly close to Dar Es Salaam) and were later established as a successful commercial crop in 1893 on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro by German colonizers.