Coffee farmers in Western Uganda have made a breakthrough to start selling their final products directly on the international market.
Small producer organizations including Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union Limited, Banyankole KweteranaCooperative Union and Kibinge Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited this past Thursday launched Butonde Coffee in Mbarara town.
The coordinator of the project, Tony Kibirige, said smallproducer association are supported by Fairtrade Africa through the Growing Resilient Enterprise Agricultural (GREAN) project, in partnership with Vi Agro forestry at a tune of 40,000 (Euros) from the Nordic Climate Facility (NCF).
The GREAN project support local farmers from production and processing, to packaging to achieve value chain and associated benefits of value addition.
While launching the product, Robert Tumwesigye the south western regional manager of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) cautioned farmers against harvesting immature coffee beans, adding that these will compromise the quality of the product and adversely affect the market of the new product.
He stressed on other bad farming practices that farmer’s still use that might compromise the productivity and quality of coffee.
“For example some farmers still harvest unripe beans, force them to dry, and even the drying is not done well, so they pick sand and other foreign particles which compromise the quality right from the taste, that means we cannot meet our targets in the coffee roadmap,” said Tumwesigye.
At the launch, John Nuwagaba, from Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperatives Union Ltd (ACPCU) emphasised their commitment to working with UCDA to achieve the roadmap.
“For us is what is on the roadman, which is to step up production, increase local consumption and also export to foreign markets, was Butonde Coffee, we shall give you quality coffee,” added Nuwagaba.