By Ricks Kayizzi
President Yoweri Museveni has urged leaders from the Lango sub-region in northern Uganda to support farmers who switch from subsistence to commercial agriculture by embracing coffee growing.
The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has a program to promote coffee growing in Northern Uganda. The program is part of the initiatives introduced by the Authority to increase coffee production to 20 million bags by 2025, as per the Coffee Roadmap.
Once achieved, the country will be in a position to earn up to $2.2b per year through exports.
Hamson Obua, the Government Chief Whip, who carried Museveni’s message as he toured the UCDA coffee laboratory, said that the biggest promoter of coffee in the country is President Museveni.
“I want to tell you that the biggest promoter and marketer of coffee in the country is the President, because on several occasions when he talks about the 4-acre model and the list of enterprises [for households to take on], coffee is the priority number one,” he said.
The President has henceforth called on Ugandans who want to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture to allot some of their lands to coffee. Under the 4-acre model, the President has recommended farmers dedicate one acre to coffee.
In 2018, the President launched a 4-acre demo farm at Barlegi in the Otuke district where farmers could go and learn about coffee growing. One acre is dedicated to coffee.
Local farmers reportedly flock to this farm daily to learn about the techniques of commercial coffee production. But the farmers have been slow in adopting the techniques.
“Why should we have coffee only at the President’s demo farm in Otuke, and even people around Otuke are not growing coffee?” Obua wondered. He added that efforts to popularize coffee must be enhanced.
He pledged to work with UCDA to promote coffee growing in non-traditional coffee-growing regions of northern Uganda.
Obua added that he intends to start growing coffee on a small scale after receiving inspiration and motivation from the president.
Dr. Iyamulemye, the UCDA executive director, said that between 17% and 19% of Uganda’s foreign exchange comes from coffee.
“We have built a robust laboratory to ensure Uganda continues to export high-quality coffee to buyers globally,” he said.
Doreen Rweihangwe, the UCDA Director for Quality and Regulation, said that the body has 25 inspectors who do physical grading, roasting, and sensory analysis of coffee samples before shipment to the final destination.
UCDA registers coffee sales and carries out pre-shipment inspections for all coffee leaving the country.