KAMPALA, Uganda–Coffee experts have advised the government of Uganda to come up with good agricultural policies which can entice the youth to engage in massive production of coffee.
The experts urge that although Uganda is one of the leading producers of coffee in Eastern Africa, the labor force in the sector is majorly composed of aging farmer’s a situation which has a negative impact towards the development of the coffee sector in the country.
Speaking at the African Fine Coffee Alliance (AFCA) sustainability day event held at Serena Hotel, Britta Wyss Bisang, the Chief Sustainable Chains officer at the UTZ-Rain-Forest Alliance said the demand for coffee is expanding worldwide due to increased consumption of the beans but the production chain is still poor.
“Since the youth are the majority in most coffee growing countries like Uganda then it’s better to bring them on boards in the coffee production chain. Government should support them in adopting modern farming technologies which are important in increasing coffee production,” She said.
UTZ-Rain-Forest Alliance is an International organization advocating for sustainable coffee production among the coffee producing countries worldwide.
Uganda’s Minister of State for Agriculture Christopher Kibanzanga told the participants that the government is committed to ensure that the country produces more coffee to meet the increasing demand both locally, regionally and internationally.
Among the interventions which the government intends to implement to support farmers towards increasing coffee production include recruiting professional coffee extensions service providers who will work closely with the coffee farmers to equip them with basic coffee production skills said the minister.
“Government is committed to support our local coffee farmers because coffee sector once developed has the potential of solving some social and economic challenges faced by most youth in the country. As government we have developed the coffee road map and if its fully implemented we shall see Uganda producing about 20 million bags of coffee between the year 2025-30” The Minister Said.
Apart from recruiting extension workers, the Minister said through his Ministry, coffee farmers are going to be organized into farming groups to enable government support them collectively.
“In Uganda, only 15% of the coffee farmers belong to farmer organizations hence are unable to standardize the quality to attract good market prices, this does not deter farmers only from accessing market but also farming inputs, that is why through the coffee road map, we are going to focus more on organizing coffee farmers into groups and this will lead to increase in production, “Kibanzanga said.
Presenting a paper on farmer Ownership Model on Promoting Sustainable productivity, Joseph Nkandu, Executive Director, National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) advised coffee farmers to adopt Appropriate irrigation technologies to help them mitigate climate change effects.
“As coffee farmers, we need to adopt technologies that can support the sector to flourish during the current situation of climate change. There’re technologies on the market which are cheap but can support coffee farmers during drought conditions, “Nkandu said.
He said some of the technologies coffee farmers should embrace include the use of solar Irrigation system, planting improved coffee varieties that take short time to mature among other technologies on the market.