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Bunyoro Coffee Farmers Get Skills

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Several farmers in Bunyoro sub-region have been equipped with skills in modern farming and handling of coffee, through a project initiated by Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese.

The Wambabya Coffee Project was rolled out in 2002 by friends of Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese in partnership with the Church to start a coffee plantation project.

The project is located in Kikuube district and sits on 47 acres. The intervention has helped many farmers acquire skills in coffee handling and value addition to earn more money from their produce.

Herbert Asiimwe, the farm manager, said the diocese was proud that the project has had a positive impact on the communities as it celebrated its golden jubilee recently.

“Farmers visit the model farm and get free knowledge. I am happy that most of our farmers in Bunyoro have visited the farm and are transforming. The diocese offered its land as part of the partnership,” Asiimwe said.

The project has also trained farmers to optimise their investment in coffee, earn more from other on-farm activities and reduce the living income gap by 20%.

 As the backbone of Uganda’s economy, the agriculture sector is critical to the country’s economic development.

“This growth will be realised when smallholder farmers increase their yields and incomes. By implementing this project, Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese is contributing to the Government’s target to increase coffee production from 4.6 million bags a year to 20 million bags by 2025,” Asiimwe said.

He, however, said they were in the process of handing over the entire management of the project to the diocese to run it Moses Kwesiiga, a worker at the farm, said the project had provided them employment opportunities since it employs over 22 permanent staff and several casual workers, depending on the season.

“Other than training, we also give out seedlings to the communities and this has enabled them to increase their household incomes,” Kwesiiga said.

He added that there was a need for the diocese to utilise most of its land for agricultural production so that people can benefit.

Florence Kabaseke, a coffee farmer in Buhimba, Kikuube district, said they had undergone several training sessions, which had enabled them to start marketing their coffee groups.

“It does not make sense if farmers produce coffee but are unable to benefit from it,” she said.

Kabaseke said the Government, through the agriculture ministry, had given the diocese a new tractor, which some farmers were using to cultivate.

“Several farmers are embracing modern and commercial agriculture. It will help us benefit from our produce and earn more money,” she added.

Kabaseke said she was also excited that young people were beginning to take agriculture seriously.

“It is encouraging that we are now seeing the youth getting involved in agriculture. This shows that the sector will register tremendous development.”

Farmers inspired

Alfred Tumusiime, a coffee farmer in Kikuube district, said he was inspired by the Wambabya demonstration farm and now has over five acres of coffee planted on his farm.

“I am happy that as the diocese celebrates 50 years of existence, something good has been achieved because many of us can earn some money because of the ideas that were generated by the Church,” he said.

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