On realizing the value of Uganda’s coffee could reach $ 3.3 billion in five years according to the draft National Coffee Strategy.
The National Coffee Strategy was drafted by coffee farmer associations in collaboration with Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA. It seeks to increase the quantity and improve the quality of coffee in the country. According to the document coffee production could move from the 3.5million bags a year, valued at $ 450million United States Dollars to 9.8million bags in 2018. Henry Ngabirano, the Executive Director UCDA says the strategy would make Uganda’s coffee more competitive on the global scale.
Coffee is Uganda’s single largest export earner. Uganda is also Africa’s largest producer of Robusta Coffee followed by Ethiopia. Tom Mugoya, the Executive Manager Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance says previously the farmer was largely ignored and that the strategy clearly points out the structured support for the farmer.
UCDA estimates that 85percent of all coffee produced in Uganda is mostly from smallholder farmers. Only about 15percent of all coffee farmers are part of any farmer’s association and group. According to the strategy document, in the first twelve months of implementation, which is likely to be in the 2014/15 financial year, the country would have to agree on farmer organization model from a successful country. This, according to Norman Mutekanga the Strategy and Business Development Manager at UCDA, could increase farmers in associations to 40percent.
Ntambi Mulungi a director in the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farmer Enterprises (NUCAFE) a farmer association says farmers lobbied for this strategy because it would strengthen them but says they have to participate more in the value chain. NUCAFE is currently constructing a factory in the Namanve industrial park. The completion of the factory means the farmers can grow, process and market their own brand of coffee for better revenues. The document also further points out that it will be the responsibility of government and coffee industry players to facilitate small holder farmers to be more efficient by providing extension services and technology transfer. It also suggests investment in research on how to increase yields. UCDA will submit the strategy paper to the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Fisheries for approval by cabinet. If approved, then implementation will begin.