Coffee is one of the commodities the Government has lined up as a major foreign income earner.
Information from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) shows that a total of 457,244 60-kilo bags of coffee valued at $ 67.10m were exported in October 2022.
In addition to fetching the country more money, the Government also wants to increase household incomes among the smallholder coffee farmers.
By adding value, smaller sizes of coffee or screens below size 13 that exporters reject can be processed into other products that will earn farmers additional income.
One way through which smallholder farmers can earn from coffee is through value addition.
According to coffee experts attending the expo, value addition can be applied along the entire coffee value chain.
For example, Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises Ltd (NUCAFE), who is training farmers on how to add value to coffee at the ongoing Harvest Money Expo, advised farmers on various ways of adding value to it.
One can roast, grind or pound the coffee and then package it as beans that can be eaten as snacks.
These can be carried to places with coffee grinders, and packaged in small units to be sold at sh500. The farmer will not only have earned from the coffee, but its shelf life will have increased.
Smallholder farmers can also be assured of daily income, which will then improve their livelihoods.
This is one of the reasons President Museveni has, on several occasions, advocated for coffee value addition. For one to get quality beans for value addition, they have to choose the right size screen.
For instance, the beans should be uniform, of the same size, and roasted at the right temperatures.
“To have a final quality product, the coffee should be kept away from perfumes, paraffin, chilly because these affect its aroma and taste,” Edward Lutakome, a trainer from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).