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Ugandans Urged To Consume More Coffee

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Herbert Musoke

The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, has encouraged coffee farmers and Ugandans to increase consumption of coffee and its products so as to increase the market of the crop.

During his visit at the National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI) at Kituuza in Mukono district, Mayiga expressed concern about the low uptake of coffee by Ugandans yet many are coffee farmers, which has left the market and pricing of coffee in the hands of speculating middlemen and exporters.

“We must start drinking and using coffee. It doesn’t make economic sense to grow a crop that you don’t consume and you expect to earn from it. Uganda is leading in growing matooke in Africa, but matooke farmers don’t struggle with the market because the farmers are the fi rst line of consumers and they have money,” he says.

Mayiga encouraged farmers to consume coffee since it doesn’t have health effects, and become the market other than leaving the opportunistic businessmen to take advantage of the struggling market, thus giving farmers low prices as they have no option.

This was part of his visitations recently under the Emmwaanyi terimba campaign through which the Katikkiro encouraged more people to get engaged in growing coffee as a business.

Through this programme, the Katikkiro was in company of some Buganda officials, including Haji Hamis Kakomo (agriculture minister), Israel Kazibwe (information and publicity minister) and the Kyaggwe county chief, Ssekiboobo Elijah Bogere Mulembya.

The Katikkiro has traversed the whole kingdom, visiting farmers and institutions involved in value addition and research, sharing experiences, words of encouragement and listening to their challenges in bid to create partnerships to promote coffee growing in Buganda and Uganda as a whole.

Mayiga was impressed with the new innovations in coffee varieties and products produced through value addition.

“We need to rely on science to get the best coffee varieties that will give us maximum yields. We encourage people to grow coffee and they will continue growing coffee. They must earn realistically,” he says.

Mayiga, therefore, says NaCORI has a pivotal role in the promotion of Emmwaanyi Terimba campaign by producing improved coffee varieties that will maximize production and productivity.

In addition, he called for intensification of value addition, lauding NaCORI for the innovations and new products made from coffee, including cosmetics, yoghurt flavors and snacks.

“If you are growing coffee and you have earned some money, live a decent life,” he says.

Research and innovations

Dr Geoffrey Arinaitwe, the director at NaCORI, explains that Katikkiro’s visit was part of the ongoing campaign aimed at promoting community connecting and participation in the research and innovations by the institute.

He says: “Before, we have been doing research and coming up with innovations and technologies that are not adoptable by farmers. Through this programme, we want to create partnerships with traditional/cultural institutions, farmer groups and unions so that we innovate according to the challenges they have.”

With such market-driven technologies and innovations, promotion of coffee production for increased household incomes, export and industry, the country’s development will be achieved as it will be easy to identify the areas of intervention.

Dr Arinaitwe commended Buganda Kingdom for the Emwaanyi Terimba campaign, which is in line with the institution’s goal and objectives of promoting coffee production in quantities and quality for increased household incomes and foreign exchange earnings for the country.

“We shall be mapping the regions according to similarities and also sign memoranda of understanding with such institutions and farmer groups, according to the agreed terms of reference. NaCORI will be mandated to develop technologies through the production value chain,” he says.

Drinking coffee

To answer Katikkiro’s calls, Arinaitwe explains that through partnerships, they are promoting drinking coffee.

Here, they are promoting craft coffee, which is a practice that involves using ingredients of the highest quality coupled with master roasters who have years of experience in crafting to create the perfect cup of coffee.

He says they are using local roasters and the coffee is pounded in a wooden-motor.

“This is the most expensive coffee sold at international coffee places. We believe we can emulate them,” Arinaitwe adds.

Non dietary products

Evans Atwijukire, a researcher/Biochemist with NaCORI, explains that they have come up with many products to create a strong local market and alternative for their coffee to promote local consumption and market.

He explains that coffee has different nutrients that can be used in production of different products for consumption and cosmetics.

Therefore, NaCORI, in collaboration with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute, has started making coffee yoghurt, coffee cakes and coffee anti-aging lotions and creams and they are now at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. The products are at prototype level awaiting private partners to start massive commercial production.

PHOTO CAPTION: Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga touring stalls of women with coffee value added products.

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