Saturday, April 13, 2024
Home Harvest Money Expo How To Earn From Coffee

How To Earn From Coffee

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

 Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of NUCAFE

Coffee is one of Uganda’s number one income earners. Although the crop is lucrative, people interested in trading in it have to consider various factors beyond the farm. According to Edward Lutakome, a coffee expert from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), farmers must explore existing standards before venturing into coffee as a business. The standards start from the farm all the way to the market. Lutakome pointed out some areas that farmers should look out for, and these include the following:.

Moisture content
Ensure that the moisture content is below 12.5%.
Insect damage should not exceed 10%, and broken coffee should not exceed 5%, according to ISO.

Pesticides Residue

The levels of pesticide residues should not exceed the maximum limits set by the Codex Commission.

Packaging/target market

Green coffee beans should be packaged in good-grade materials to ensure safety and maintain the integrity of the product. Although there is a call from all sections of the public, including the government, for an increase in coffee production, experts have a different view. During a training session on growing coffee as a business at the Harvest Money Expo 2024 that took place at the Kololo Independence grounds from February 23-25, farmers were asked to first know their target market.

Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of NUCAFE, a coffee farmers organisation with about 2.2 million farmers countrywide, said knowing the market will guide seed selection, the nutrients to apply, and technologies to use. Knowing the market will enable the farmer to look out for knowledge in terms of production, types of nutrients, influencing policy, and also making use of science through research. He added that this should be backed by farmers interested in what he termed farmer ownership. “Once a farmer takes ownership of the farm, there will be effective monitoring and good management practices.

Soil tests, analysis

Farmers with a desire to increase coffee yields should invest in the analysis of soils in the proposed pieces of land meant for coffee growing. Through soil analysis, a farmer will know the missing nutrients needed for coffee production. The analysis will also guide the farmer on the contents of fertilisers to buy and how nutrients should be applied. During the same training session, farmers were advised to make use of the soil testing facilities at Makerere University and the National Agriculture Research Laboratories based in Kawanda.

Farmers speak out

During the interactive sessions, farmers raised concern about the appropriate fertilisers to apply, the spacing of coffee trees and application of nutrients and pesticides. Others wanted to know how to manage coffee pest residues. They called for the enforcement of standards.

The 2024 Harvest Money Expo was organised by Vision Group in partnership with the Netherlands Embassy. Other sponsors were the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Tunga Nutrition, Engineering Solutions (ENGSOL), Techo Serve, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, KOICA-K-ABIC, dfcu Bank, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, AKVO International, Pepsi, and State House.

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