COFFEE farmers in the Rwenzori mountainous sub-region have a reason to smile after the recent introduction of a new Arabica coffee variety. Each coffee tree of the new variety yields 4kg compared to the old variety that produces 2kg.
“This new coffee variety (SL14) is also resistant to various diseases, has a good aroma and is drought-resistant. Unlike the old varieties that take three to five years to mature, this one takes two years,” said Tress Bucyanayandi, the agriculture minister.
The minister said every village in the benefiting districts will have a nursery operator of the new variety. He was speaking to Kasese and Kamwenge farmers and district officials recently during the launch of a sh2b coffee development project.
The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has put in place strategies of improving the quality of coffee processed.
The quality and regulatory manager, Edmund Kananura said the authority is concerned that Uganda was the second leading producer of coffee in Africa and ranked 10th overall in the World but about 98% of its coffee is exported.
He said the low local consumption of the beverage could be due to a negative perception Ugandans have towards coffee, which he said emanate from misleading information passed on to consumers claiming healthy related risks amongst consumers.
Kananura told journalists at a coffee gala at the Forest Mall yard in Lugogo that UCDA had embarked on sensitizing local consumers about the healthy benefits of taking coffee and explaining the myths attached to coffee as a beverage.
Farmers in Nakaseke under the Kikamulo Cooperative Society Ltd are to setup a coffee processing factory worth sh200m, to be received from government.
The chairman Paul Sejjabi Kasolo has revealed that the factory will also have a maize milling machine – to be funded by President Yoweri Museveni and Gen Salim Saleh’s Operation Wealth Creation.
“The investment is to enable us add value to agricultural products,” he told New Vision.
The factory to be located at Kamuli Parish in Kikamulo sub-county has 500 registered members under the Kikamulo Cooperative Society Ltd.
Kasolo said the district will produce 1000 tons of coffee in the coming season, following massive efforts that were undertaken to grow the cash crop.
For several years now, it has been trendy for our politicians and other leaders to advise farmers to plant coffee in order to reduce poverty.
Many of them have also donated coffee seedlings to the farmers to plant. One MP in Masaka region gave out coffee seedlings last month when the rainy season was about to end.
Many of his targeted constituents scoffed at him for the “mis-timing”.
They said they were hardly surprised since he is not a farmer himself and had no idea when coffee seedlings are planted.
Actually nearly all of them had already received coffee seedlings through Naads (National Agricultural Advisory Services).
COFFEE farmers are working out ways to lure a majority of youths back into growing the cash crop from the boda-boda business they have recently embraced.
The Buganda Kingdom minister of investments, planning and economic development Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa who is also the District General of the 80 Rotary Clubs said the new initiative dubbed Coffee on Wheels is intended to entice the 77% of youth that constitutes the Uganda's population into the activity to make it vibrant.