READERS LETTERS

COFFEE
I am trying to work out a history of the spread of coffee culture around the tropics and I am wondering whether any of your readers could shed some light on when and from where C. arabica cultivars came to East Africa.

In your article on Kilimanjaro Agriculture in Tanganyika Notes and Records No.64 you stated that the first coffee planting was made at Kilema Mission ‘over 60 years ago’ i.e around the beginning of the century. Monseigneur Le Roy of the Holy Ghost Fathers based in Zanzibar negotiated for the site of the mission at Kilema in August 1890. German plantations around Kilimanjaro appear to have started around 1895 when a Land Commission was set up to give out concessions and a Colonial Economic Committee of 1896 investigated suitable crops, of which coffee and rubber were the most important, so presumably coffee was already available by then. On the other hand robusta coffee had been in use around Bukoba and traded locally in pre-colonial times and the Germans certainly exported this and may well have used it in their plantations initially.

I wonder if the Holy Ghost Fathers were responsible for the importation into Kenya and Uganda from Reunion and then passed stock on to the other countries? Being a French mission, they might well have had contacts with Reunion and their headquarters in Zanzibar could have been used as a port of entry. Furthermore, the White Fathers sent out to the Lake Region and Uganda in 1878 were also French. I wonder if you have any more information or know where I could find some?
Mike Bigger
(The writer is updating the standard work ‘Insect Pests of Coffee’ -Longmans -and has increased the world list of such insects from 890 to some 1,400. Anyone able to help in his research can contact him at Tel: 01568708319 -Editor)

HONEST EVALUATION
Thank you for producing a very good magazine, with lots of interesting information in it. You asked for suggestions about how to improve it, so below I have described my idea.
I lived in Tanzania for a total of 7 years, which means that family and friends, and often friends of friends, regard me as someone who ought to know about things Tanzanian. Obviously I do not feel like an authority in any sense of the word. But increasingly I receive letters and e-mails from people who have been given my address by friends or family, asking for my advice. Typically they say that their 18-year old daughter wants to take a year off before university and has applied to go to Tanzania with an organization for a ‘short-term experience’. They want to know what my opinion is of this organization. Is it a rip-off? Is it reliable? Do I recommend it? Or the letter will say that they wish to give money to a charity that works in Tanzania. Can I recommend one? Will that charity use their money wisely?

I wonder if there is a place in Tanzanian Affairs for a series of articles about organizations that work in Tanzania. I’m not really looking for the facts and figures; they are easily obtainable from the organization itself. I’m looking for an honest report from people who can advise, recommend or even condemn a particular organization. Would this be possible? 1 know that there are many other people in my situation because we ask each other for advice, but frequently we are stuck, and don’t know who to turn to for the answer.
Catherine Lee.

As regards organizations that really work in Tanzania would readers who are able to help please get in touch with Catherine Lee at St. James Episcopal Church, 23 Wu-chuan West Road, Taichung, Taiwan. Concerning charities which work and use their money Wisely I think you should be aware of the Tanzania Development Trust’ which is part of the Britain-Tanzania Society and helps development projects in various part of the country. Its Project Officer is Peter Park, 45 Highsett, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 1NZ -Editor

TANGANYIKA NOTES AND RECORDS
I have copies of 11 of Tanganyika/Tanzania Notes and Records (1960-65) -plus the index for Nos. 1-55 -which I would be happy to pass on to anyone who has an interest in them.
V Evans (Tel: 01323 733 966)

PLANE CRASH
You have recently reviewed Randal Sadleir’s book -‘Tanzania ¬≠Journey to a Republic’ in which he describes the events following a plane crash in Handeni in 1952. My uncle was killed in this crash and the local authorities in Tanga (presumably including Mr Sadleir) were kind enough to arrange a Jewish burial and gravestone. Could you let me have Mr Sadleir’s address.
John Rudkin

Randal has spoken to Professor Yudkin and disclaimed any credit for the Jewish burial which he believes was perhaps arranged by the then Provincial Commissioner Mr J C Clarke or his staff as Tanga is 150 miles from the site of the crash -Editor.

A CONTENTS PAGE
A quick thought on the really excellent Tanzanian Affairs. Being quite a substantial publication now it would benefit from a contents page. This would include (as on the cover now) regular sections and, of course, page numbers.
Nick Mc William

Thank you for this suggestion with which I am sure many readers would agree. The trouble is that this would slightly reduce the space for the main text so much good material has to be rejected each time TA is published that I am reluctant to make any reduction in this space. The problem might be eased if we could publish say a separate annual or five­yearly index. Any volunteers to make one? -Editor

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.