By Billy Rwothungeyo
COFFEE farmers in Uganda should expect to up their productivity and better their incomes with increased access to reliable inputs, improved technologies, extension services and more participation in post farm processes with the launch of the national coffee policy.
The policy was launched at the Coffee Research Institute at Kituza in Mukono district. The launch comes after Cabinet’s approval of the policy in August that aims to boost coffee production and push Uganda back to the helm of coffee production on the African continent.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday ahead of the launch, Prof. Zerubabel Mujumbi, the agriculture state minister, said the policy will strengthen the coffee research system so that it is responsive to industry requirements and demands.
“The policy aims at supporting and strengthening coffee farmer organisations to participate effectively in all the stages of the coffee value chain,” he said. Mujumbi added that the policy will streamline and strengthen existing coffee laws and regulations at all stages of the value chain.
The policy also aims to promote domestic consumption of coffee to enhance coffee industry competitiveness and develop the local market.
The current development strategy and investment plan of the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries prioritises coffee as the second ranked enterprise on a list of 17 commodities.
Coffee has been contributing an annual average of 20% of Uganda’s total export revenue over the last 10 years.
The lack of a comprehensive policy has condemned the coffee subsector to low production due to low acreage, yields and limited participation in post farm processes.
As a result, coffee production in Uganda has stagnated at three million bags per year over the last past two decades.