ARUSHA, Tanzania, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania has embarked on research trials of a drought-tolerant coffee variety that will be availed to farmers by 2020, an official of the country's crop research body said Thursday.
Deusdedit Kilambo, Chief Executive Director of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI), said the move is meant to boost coffee production in the East African nation.
"We came up with the decision of developing new coffee variety after realizing that climate change is threatening production of coffee in the country," he said.
"What we want is to increase production, without compromising the quality of coffee beans," Kilambo added.
According to the official, TaCRI is carrying out research trials in four regions of Kilimanjaro, Mara, Kigoma, and Mbeya.
Tanzania's coffee production during the season in 2017/18 is expected to drop from 50,000 tonnes to 43,000 tonnes due to drought.
Brought into the country by Catholic missionaries in 1898, coffee is now Tanzania's most important export crop, generating an average of 100 U.S. million dollars per year in export value over the last 30 years.
More than 90 percent of Tanzanian coffee comes from smallholder farmers. The crop provides jobs for around 2.4 million people, or 9.3 percent of the country's workforce.