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Coffee farmers tipped on collective marketing

By Admin

Added 23rd October 2019 06:47 PM

Coffee can be marketed as commercial or speciality (Arabica) and fine (Robusta) on the world market.

Coffee farmers tipped on collective marketing

Coffee can be marketed as commercial or speciality (Arabica) and fine (Robusta) on the world market.

By Stephen Nuwagira

It is essential for all coffee farmers in the country to join cooperatives and market their produce collectively, according to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

Gordon Katwirenabo, a quality assurance officer for UCDA, said this will help ensure quality along the value chain, as well as enable farmers to have a strong voice to bargain for better prices and make Uganda's coffee more competitive on the global market.

"When farmers market their coffee through cooperatives, they gain more because there will be no middlemen involved in the value chain.

It is also easy to ensure product quality besides accessing good markets that pay premium prices for the coffee," explained Katwirenabo during the training of trainers' workshop in Ibanda town, which attracted close to 30 participants.

The training attracted farmers, sub-county and district agricultural extension workers and other sector stakeholders, seeking to equip them with skills and knowledge on how to ensure quality along the coffee value chain as well as on coffee marketing.

The UCDA official said that 35% of the cooperatives in the country produce speciality Arabica coffee and fine Robusta coffee, which fetch premium prices on the global market.

Coffee can be marketed as commercial or speciality (Arabica) and fine (Robusta) on the world market.

Lack of information

On the other hand, farmers said that they don't access information on some of the opportunities and programmes that could enable them to improve the production process and hence access better markets.

Sylvester Busasi from Kikyenkye sub-county said that the information gap has also fueled farmer-exploitation by middlemen.

He called on UCDA and other coffee sector stakeholders to put in place systems that ease access to information, adding that farmer empowerment was crucial for the sector's development.

However, Francis Mugumya, the district senior agriculture officer, was optimistic that interventions by the sector regulator, like capacity building of Stakeholders and farmers, could bring much-need awareness and guard against farmer exploitation.

"I am glad that UCDA can get market for our farmers. This is crucial because Ibanda is one of the top coffee producers in the region," while speaking during the training.

Promote coffee drinking culture

Katwirenabo also urged farmers to embrace roasting and encourage residents to drink coffee, saying that this will increase individual and Uganda's earnings from the sector. Currently, only 5% of the coffee produced is consumed locally and the remaining 95% exported.

Katwirenabo assured the participants that UCDA can help farmer cooperatives get good buyers if they have quality coffee and can sustain buyer demand.

He said that value addition, including roasting, was another way that farmer groups could utilize, to earn better from the crop, explaining that a cup of coffee costs up to sh50, 000 in some Hotels like Kampala Serena Hotel. It goes for between sh10, 000 and sh30, 000 in coffee bars and cafes, he added.

Kiboko coffee costs between sh2,000 to sh2,500 per kilogramme, while Arabica parchment ranges from sh4, 300 to sh4,800 and clean is at between sh4,700 and sh5,000, according to UCDA weekly indicative prices.

Uganda is targeting to produce 20 million 60-kilogramme bags of green coffee per year by 2025, up from the current five million kilos, according to Moses Asiimwe, the UCDA western region manager.

He explained that the target is to increase productivity from 0.5 kilogrammes of clean coffee per tree to over two kilos over the same period, with farmers needing to embrace value addition to benefit from the sector's growth over the period, he added.

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