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Coffee Farmers Unveil Obstacles To Value Addition Chain

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By  Samuel Amanyire

Various farmers from across the country have listed numerous challenges affecting high-quality coffee yields required in the value-addition chain to products for both local and international markets.

This was revealed on October 05, 2023, during the International Coffee Day clebrations held at Agri Evolve Uganda Limited headquarters in Nyabirongo Village, Kisinga Town Council, Kasese district. 

The event attracted hundreds including; coffee farmers, dealers, and key stakeholders.

Charles Mugisa Muchwangali, a coffee farmer in Kabarole district, said most coffee farmers are ignorant on how best they yield quality as many are not sensitized.

Jonny Rowland, the managing director Agri Evolve Uganda Limited, dealing in extensive buying and coffee value addition but also the host of this year’s International Coffee Day unveiled that most coffee farmers are in hard-to-reach areas with poor roads, which hinders transportation of coffee from such areas to centers of value addition.  

“You realize that most farmers find it so hard for them to access coffee washing machines,” Jonny said.

Moses Kyakora, the marketing manager Bukonzo Organic Farmer’s Cooperative Union, one of the companies that export coffee to the international market asserted that there is a challenge of high taxation on coffee value addition machines that they would wish to import in Uganda.

He called upon the government to guarantee coffee dealers a taxi holiday on machines imported to ensure coffee value addition or even render the machines taxi-free.

Ham Natuhwera, the Kasese district LC5 vice chairperson indicated that most coffee farmers in Kasese face the challenge of pro- longed droughts denying coffee plants enough water to facilitate good yields. 

He requested the government to fund mini-irrigation schemes in various villages to curb the vice.

What can and has been done

Tony Herald Muhindo, the Bukonzo East Member of Parliament where the day was celebrated asked the government through the agriculture ministry to consider giving out free rudimentary tools such as pangas, hoes, and forks among others to farmers staying in mountainous areas since tractors cannot operate in such areas.

“I thank the government of Uganda for supplying tractors to boost farmers in various parts of the country but there is also a need to consider people staying in the mountainous villages, especially as we look at the coffee value addition chain,” Muhindo said.

UCDA speaks out

Dr. Emanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira, the managing director Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), said they have continuously engaged coffee farmers and dealers in the entire country to ensure they produce good coffee to maintain the standard of Uganda’s coffee both at local and international markets.

“We have conducted country-wide sensitization programs but have also set up regional offices in various areas to extend services to the farmers but also ease our operation,” Niyibigira said.

He added, “In Kasese, we are having very good coffee coming here, we have seen many value chain actors set up here, especially Agri Evolve and very many other companies.” Chief Guest speaks out

Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the minister of state for agriculture highlighted that coffee earns Uganda the biggest foreign revenue earned from all exported products and mounts to over 900 billion every financial year.

He urged farmers to embrace all methods of value-addition processing so as to benefit highly from coffee production.

“Scale-up production by ensuring value addition,” he said.

International Coffee Day is always celebrated on October 1st every year worldwide but Uganda chose to celebrate it on October 4th with an independent theme: Celebrating Arabic coffee from the foothills of Mount Rwenzori.

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