Women tending to their coffee gardens
Agribusiness Industry

‘Use women groups to promote coffee production’

Coffee producer organizations have been asked to make use of women groups to promote the production of coffee.

The call was made by AgaPeters Kubasu, from Fairtrade at the launch of Butonde coffee beans and beverage that will be sold directly to EU markets.

Butonde coffee products were produced by three cooperatives also known as Small Producer Organizations, having gone through training by Fairtrade and Africa Coffee Academy for some time so as to bring a quality product on the market.

The three cooperatives that came together to produce the product include Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union Limited, Banyankole Kweteerana Cooperative Union and Kibinge Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited.

According to Kubasu for the three groups to maintain the production of quality coffee they will have to work more closely with women groups, help them understand the best farming practices and handling of coffee right from the field to the collection points.

“That way, there will be assured quantities for trade both in country and in regional markets that have already been secured since the produces are Fairtrade certified,” he said.

Apart from producing coffee alone, he said through the same groups, domestic consumption will be natured just like it is in Ethiopia where most of the coffee produced is consumed locally.

“By pioneering this approach, farmers are expected to realize value for money as there is likely to be an increase of price at farmgate level, which will improve their incomes, both individually and as groups,” he added.

The development of the product was supported by Fairtrade Africa, through the Growing Resilient Enterprise Agricultural (GREAN) project, in partnership with Vi Agro forestry at a tune of €40000  from the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF).

The GREAN project is providing an opportunity for the coffee producing  organizations to own a new Fairtrade coffee brand, thus engaging them from production and processing, to packaging and marketing – an innovation of owning more of the coffee value chain and retaining the benefits of value addition for their farmer members.

Officiating at the launch of the product in Mbarara recently, Robert Tumwesigye, the Regional Manager for S.Western region at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the Regional Manager for South Western region advised farmers to stick to quality parameters set aside by UCDA to maintain the quality and the available market.

Francis Atukunda the district commercial officer for Mbarara reported that farmers still have challenges of post-harvest management, adding that many still harvest immature coffee beans and force them to dry, a practice he said compromises the taste and aroma of the final product.