Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe), has won yet another international recognition for his efforts in empowering smallholder coffee growers in Uganda.
Nkandu recently scooped the 2016 Kenya Entrepreneurship Showcase Impact award. The annual impact entrepreneurship education awards, jointly organized by the Italian Entrepreneurship for Impact Foundation and Tangaza University, recognize individuals and organisations that have imparted skills to change businesses for the better.
Through the Nucafe network, which has more than half-a-million smallholder coffee farmers, Nkandu has helped the cash-crop growers move from selling unprocessed to processed coffee, which fetches more value and better prices on the market.
For more than 15 years, smallholder farmers in Uganda have been taking different strides, pursuing more financial benefits from coffee agribusinesses.
A significant breakthrough came recently after farmers sealed a deal to export green graded top quality coffee to South Korea.
South Korea-based Caffebene, a global coffee house, has agreed to buy graded coffee from members of the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), an umbrella organisation that promotes value addition and teamwork among coffee farmers.
A team comprising Caffebene senior managers and agribusiness consultants was in Uganda recently to undertake background checks within the farming communities in different regions, coffee processing facilities and perform coffee tasting to ascertain the quality parameters and determine price offers. Caffebene is present in over 1,600 locations worldwide.
The notion that for one to milk a cow, it has to be fed resonates with Scripture teaching that to reap, one must sow. This is the perspective of many of the youth in Rukungiri District.
Emmanuel Kweyunga, the chief executive officer, Keirere Green Africa Agency, notes that while growing up in Keirere village, their livelihood depended largely on coffee. However, by the time he reached the end of his formal education, diseases threatened to wipe out the crop from the area.
It is then that Kweyunga decided that he would not let the cash crop die.
Instead of opting for formal employment, he decided to set up a chain of services that coffee farmers require to grow the crop.
He realised that production of seedlings alone, had ready market from both government, farmers and other clients such as non-governmental organisations.
Private and public actors in the coffee sub-sector are grappling with the challenge of boosting production and productivity of Uganda’s most lucrative cash crop as a way of fighting household poverty.
Much as coffee plays a key integral part in building the country’s economy, its exportable volumes have been stuck at three million bags every year for the last four decades, a challenge that calls for strategic interventions to enable the sector produce more volumes.
Banyankore Kweterana Cooperative Union (BKCU) Ltd has been ranked among the best performing unions in Uganda, having processed and exported 43 containers (825.6 metric tonnes) of coffee in the financial year 2014/2015.
The new tonnage surpasses the target of 31 containers (595.2 metric tonnes).
The chairman of the BKCU Board of Directors, Mr Geoffrey Beingana, disclosed the new figures at the 44th annual general meeting at the union head office in Kakoba Division, Mbarara Municipality last Friday.