By Daniel Karibwij
Coffee is both a science and an art. In case you are puzzled whether arts or sciences offer better opportunities, you are reading the answer in coffee.
This is the right place to be. Whether you desire to analyse coffee samples in a laboratory as a scientist, own a coffee shop, manage a plantation or become a barista, there are opportunities throughout the value chain.
Find your fit and run with it. With 77% of Uganda’s population under 25 years of age, brewing a coffee culture through this generation will drive Uganda to middle income status. Let us get them young!
This is why the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has a programme to promote and grow coffee clubs in different education institutions in the country.
Opportunities are not only for exporters, but different value chain players in Kampala and the rest of the country. Uganda is the eighth largest coffee producer in the world.
In Africa, the country is ranked second to Ethiopia. However, in regards to coffee drinking, Ethiopia consumes 50% of its coffee and exports the rest.
Despite Uganda being Africa’s largest exporter, we have low coffee consumption. We need to practice what we preach.
According to UCDA, consumption is at 244,800 (60kg), 0.8gm per capita per year. In Finland, the home of Nokia, per capita consumption is 12kg. Global coffee statistics reveal that Finland is the world’s biggest consumer of coffee on a per person basis.
The average Finn drinks four cups a day. Coffee is so popular here that two 10-minute coffee breaks are legally mandated for finish workers.
Country, consumption statistics reveal the top five coffee drinkers are the US, Germany, Japan, France and Italy. With market segmentation, there is a big market out there and specialty coffee is trending globally.
As Uganda pushes for increased coffee production from the present seven million bags to 20 million by 2025, consumption should increase.
Coffee has health benefits and is not just a social drink. In the northern hemisphere, it improves industry productivity and enhances work ethic.
This in turn has a wider impact on the economy, in terms of production, creation of jobs, promoting tourism and increased profits for different sectors.
Some health benefits of coffee include boosting energy levels and increasing the amount of stomach acid enhancing digestion.
This body part requires acid for digestion and that is why taking a good cup of coffee after a meal is the winner. The coffee break is not called so for nothing.
By taking coffee at that hour, it enhances the gastric juices and sets the right pH environment for a great lunch.
Coffee gives the right kick to get things moving. I share this from personal experience and having travelled and observed the coffee cultures in South Korea, Italy, the Netherlands and the US.
In China, where I promoted coffee as a postgraduate student, youth are the biggest drivers of coffee consumption.
We can borrow a leaf to increase coffee drinking in Uganda, the birthplace of robusta coffee. The beverage is not just a social lubricant, but it changes the lives of people, communities and nations.
The writer is an Export Trade Specialist