Drinking coffee brings one a lot of happiness and Uganda is seeking to earn more from coffee, according to Emmanuel Lyamulemye, the executive director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).
“Coffee leads to longevity,” he told MPs during a presentation to the parliamentary committee on agriculture on the activities of UCDA.
“Coffee helps improve alertness, for instance, for night workers and students. among others. Coffee contains hundreds of compounds that may help with research into some diseases. Caffeine can end headache if consumed in the early stage."
Lyamulenye told the legislators that UCDA has got a plot of land in China where they are to construct a building dedication to selling coffee and expanding the market among the big Chinese population.
He expressed hope that with the interventions that have been made in the coffee sector over the last few years, coffee production is projected to increase from 5.4 million bags per year from the last financial year 2016/17 to 6.5 million bags this financial year 2017/18.
Coffee is the number one export earner for Uganda, fetching $450m (sh1.6 trillion) per year.
The UCDA boss said Uganda produces a lot of coffee but consumes only one million bags a year and the rest is exported. Lyamulemye said UCDA is training makers to produce better-tasting coffee with good aroma, in different variations and flavours so that Ugandans can enjoy a better-tasting product.
He regretted that although coffee contributes a lot to Uganda’s economy, the budget for UCDA had been cut by sh13b to sh54b.
This could affect the activities of UCDA in promoting the growth, quality and sale of coffee, he added.
Apolo Kaggwa, director at UCDA, said coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world after oil, with a global value of $100b (sh360 trillion). Coffee is the number one globally-traded commodity in the agriculture sector.
“There might be a coffee war because of coffee shortage in a few years to come as the demand for coffee rises. Global consumption is increasing at 2% and the Chinese are consuming a lot. By 2030 there might a shortfall of 30 million bags on the market,” he said.
Kaggwa said Uganda and other African countries are being seen as the future to cure the envisaged coffee shortage.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa said more support has to be given to coffee farmers in terms of storage facilities, value addition, marketing and transport.
She said farmers are not making progress because they are being told to try so many crops.
“Farmers are trying this and that and not making progress. The middlemen are mishandling coffee. They want to harvest coffee beans before they mature. We need laboratories to be set up close to farms to diagnose and prescribe remedies for coffee diseases."