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Experts call for continuous training of coffee processors

By Prossy Nandudu

Added 25th January 2017 10:10 AM

Government targets exporting 20 million bags of coffee by 2040

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NUCAFE executive director, Joseph Nkandu, educating farmers on tasting of coffee varieties at Omukago Café. Photo by Saudha Nakandha

Government targets exporting 20 million bags of coffee by 2040

Coffee experts have called for the regular training of people handling coffee to maintain the quality standards which will increase consumption of Uganda coffee in the regional markets.

It's estimated that Uganda exports close to 4 million bags of coffee currently.

In 2014 and 2015, Uganda exported 3.5 million 60kg bags and 3.45 million 60kg bags compared to Ethiopia's 2.97 million and 2.21 million bags respectively.

However government' target is to export about 20 million bags of coffee by 2040 which calls for more training for quality assurance to make sure that whatever is exported is of quality.

This is according to Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), during a training session of people  handling coffee right from the farm to the shop, at the Omukago Café, on Buganda Road.

The training process also called cupping was to teach stakeholders on how to look out for the taste, aroma, fragrance, acidity levels of the coffee and also teach them how to roast the beans before turning them into a ready to drink product according to Nkandu.

"You have to continuously cup coffee to maintain the quality. So it's a training of the new human resource in coffee production to learn how to check the quality before presenting it to the final consumer" Nkandu said.

He added that the process helps one to know the status of coffee which is communicated to the farmers who supply the coffee so they can either improve or maintain the standards depending on the results of the coffee they produce.

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"Therefore we would like to maintain the quality and standards of coffee by having professional well trained people called star cuppers or Q graders," he added.

According to Nkandu, this is part of the drive to increase coffee production for Uganda to start exporting 20 million bags by 2040.

He added that the training will also help government achieve its target of exporting 20 million bags of coffee by 2040 because there will be enough coffee experts who will work with farmers country wide to produce quality.

"If you don't have professionals that can tell you how good or bad your coffee is, how will you encourage first the local consumer to buy and then the international buyer? So maintaining quality is a journey" Nkandu added. 

Any sign of increased coffee consumption?

According to Nkandu, ten years ago, there were two coffee shops in town; 1000 Cups and Ban Café, but these have grown over time to more than 100 coffee shops in Kampala alone, an increase that more people are consuming the coffee.

Aiden Kaggwa, the monitoring evaluation and risk management officer added that through the training, stakeholders will understand how to assess the quality of coffee after going through all the stages of roasting, to the final product.

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