In the next three years, Uganda is to distribute 300 million seedlings to farmers in a move to improve coffee production in the country.
Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said Uganda is not performing well in coffee exports due to declining quality. He said farmers are not replanting their coffee gardens because of inadequate access to quality coffee seedlings.
“We who are old hands at coffee production should ensure more seedlings are distributed. I can assure you that we are going to double production in the next three years,” he said. He said the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is leading the crusade.
Dr. Rugunda was meeting Jan Luehmann, the Vice-president of D.E Masters Blenders, a multinational coffee roaster company based in the Netherlands.
Dr Rugunda called for continued cooperation among various coffee stakeholders for mutual benefit, appealing to them to intensify value addition and industry predictability activities among farmers.
He said with more seedlings supplied, production would double. UCDA has distributed up to 36 million coffee seedlings this year alone, aiming to increase current production from 3.5 million coffee bags per year to 10 million.
Luehmann asked the government to support coffee farmers by equipping them with aanced skills both at pre-harvesting and post harvesting. He said most coffee farmers lack skills on how to handle coffee especially after harvesting and this compromises quality.
The UCDA Managing Director, Henry Ngabirano said coffee exports by Uganda, Africa’s second-biggest grower, showed little change in 2014-15 compared with last season because coffee plants were recovering slowly from drought.
The country’s major coffee planting campaign started in 1994 to replace trees that were affected by the coffee wilt disease which destroyed at least 150 million trees. Last year’s exports declined from a 14-year high of 3.58 million bags due to drought.
According to the sector performing reports for the ministry of Agriculture Animal industry and fisheries for the financial year m Ush1.1 trillion or $378.4 million in 20122013).
Source : East African Business Week