Thursday, May 23, 2024
Home News Coffee Machine Lies Idle Two Years After Installation

Coffee Machine Lies Idle Two Years After Installation

by Jacquiline Nakandi
0 comment

By Jackson Kitara

A coffee processing machine intended to process coffee beans for farmers in Northern Uganda has remained idle for two years due to lack of electricity.

Installed in 2021 in Ipopong village, Loro town council in Oyam district, the machine has never been operational due to the absence of electricity.

Situated 1.2km away from the electricity grid on the outskirts of town, it was purchased for a sum of sh199m, inclusive of the construction costs for the building, with funding from the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP).

This initiative aimed to support coffee farmers in Oyam through their association, the Loro Coffee Growers Cooperative Society.

It was intended to serve coffee farmers across the entire northern sub-regions of Lango, Acholi and West Nile.

The ACDP, a six-year project funded by the World Bank under the agriculture ministry, seeks to enhance on-farm productivity, production, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in specified geographic clusters. Tony Ongar, the chairperson of the Loro Coffee Growers Cooperative Society, explained that they procured the machine in 2021 after petitioning the agriculture ministry in 2019 for assistance in adding value to their coffee.

Despite having 800 registered coffee farmers in the Lango sub-region under their cooperative society, their primary challenge remains the lack of electricity on site.

Ongar notes that due to the absence of a processing machine, they are forced to sell raw coffee at low prices, ranging from sh4,000 to sh8,000 per kilogramme.

Processed coffee beans, on the other hand, could fetch between sh10,000 and sh15,000 per kilogramme, depending on quality.

Consequently, some farmers opt to transport their coffee to Luwero district for processing, as there are no processing machines available in northern Uganda.

Ongar appealed to the Government to provide electricity so they can process their coffee beans and realise higher profits.

Tony Opio, the district agricultural officer, said farmers in Oyam cultivate coffee on 12,000 acres of land, yielding 18,000 tonnes of coffee annually.

Opio estimates that sh103m is required to purchase electric poles and a transformer to connect power to the processing machine.

Cox Ogwal, the production officer of Oyam district, emphasised the significance of adding value to agricultural products to attract more farmers, as processed coffee commands higher prices in the market.

Benson Walter Dilla, the district chairperson, explained that the cooperative society lacked land and thus decided to purchase one on the outskirts of the town council for the installation of the processing machine.

Dilla noted that setting up such machines in rural areas can spur development in less developed regions.

He urged the agriculture and energy ministers to expedite the provision of power to the processing machine using rural electrification funds.

William Komakech, the district resident commissioner, expressed disappointment with the agriculture ministry for situating the machine in an area without an electricity grid, especially considering its reliance on electricity.

He highlighted similar misallocations in other agricultural cluster programmes in Oyam.

Moses Asiimwe, the northern region manager of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, highlighted the need for operational processing machines, given the considerable coffee production in northern Uganda.

Irene Birungi, the head of the Presidential CEO Forum, assured residents that electricity will be supplied before the end of year, and pledged to engage the President during his anticipated meeting with farmers in Gulu city in July.

PHOTO LEAD CAPTION: A staff from UCDA showing visitors the coffee processing machine in Ipopong village, Oyam district, which lies idle. Photo by Jackson Kitara

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Download Vision Group Experience App

Follow Us

All Rights Reserved © Harvest Money 2023

error: Content is protected !!