Boosting coffee production will propel economy - Namayanja

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
The Government adopted National Coffee Policy in 2013 with the key objectives among others of sustainable production systems, increased domestic consumption, value addition and enhancement of local research capacity to increase coffee production. Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) continues to take lead in promoting coffee production, marketing and export.  
During 2017/18, Government’s target to suddenly increase coffee revenue looked gradually more achievable as annual production jumped by more than one million bags. Production sharply rose from 4.2 million 2016/17 to 5.6 million bags 2017/2018, earning the country USD 4.456m (60 Kg bags, compared to USD 4.187m 2016/17. The increase in coffee production area was attributed to a replanting program implemented by UCDA which also aims at increasing yields through improved varieties, increase in efficiency of farm inputs supply, and revamping of agricultural extension services.
The priority of NRM Government in 2017/18 was to increase coffee production, research and coordination as well as value addition and generic promotion, Coffee Development in Northern Uganda and quality assurance. In order to increase coffee production and productivity in realization of the Policy objective, the Government through UCDA planned to produce 116 million coffee seedlings and surpassed the target by producing 239 million (206%) of the target. UCDA submits that the above performance level was due to the irresistible interest and farmers’ demand for seedlings in line with Coffee Roadmap target of planting 300 million seedlings per year. However, performance of Coffee Development in Northern Uganda faced a setback when only 22 of the planned 36 technology demonstration sites were established on account of harsh weather experienced in the region that affected establishment of the sites in 13 districts .
Only 40% (16) platforms were facilitated against targeted 40, under the production, research and coordination output of the Coffee Development programme. Equally, value addition and generic promotions were undertaken as planned, and exhibited in the number of trade fairs that showcased coffee during the financial year. UCDA supported the National Barista Champion to compete ate the WCE/WBC event in Netherlands and emerged 47th of 54 competitors. Uganda Coffee was also promoted and marketed in China through showcasing exportable Uganda coffee for tasting at various exhibitions. 
Uganda is expected to ultimately raise production to 12 million bags by 2040 with a potential return of USD 2.5bn.  The 2015-16 coffee strategy document states that “this will be achieved by enhancing access to extension services, agricultural inputs, marketing services, and other appropriate technologies in coffee farming by smallholder farmers, processers and middlemen”. But more realistic figure rests in the Uganda National Coffee Strategy Plan for 2015-2020, which sees Uganda producing 5.8m bags by 2020. This would bring in export earnings of at least USD1.1bn, making coffee the second highest foreign exchange earner, after tourism, which brings in USD1.5bn. An estimated 1.8million Ugandan households are involved in coffee production, with 80% growing Robusta, according to Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).
Let’s involve ourselves in the plantation of coffee in order for us to increase and improve our incomes.