Coffee experts have advised the Government of Uganda to come up with good agricultural policies which can entice the youth to engage in massive coffee production.
The experts argue 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 impact towards the development of Coffee sector in the country.
Speaking at the African Fine Coffee Alliance (AFCA) Sustainability Day event 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 board in the coffee production chain. Government should support them in adopting modern farming technologies which are key 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.
“Government is committed to support our local coffee farmers because if the coffee sector is developed, it has the potential of solving some social and economic challenges most of the country’s youth are facing. As government we have developed the coffee road map and if it’s fully implemented we shall see Uganda producing about 20 million bags of coffee between the years 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 this will enable government to support them collectively.
“In Uganda only 15% of the coffee farmers belong to farmers’ organization hence they are unable to standardize the quality that attracts good market prices. This does not affect farmers only in accessing to market but also to farming inputs; that is why through the Coffee road map we are going to focus more on organizing coffee farmers into groups. This will increase production,” the minister added.
Presenting a paper on farmer Ownership Model on promoting Sustainable productivity, Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) advised coffee farmers to adopt appropriate irrigation technologies that will help them to mitigate climate change.
“Coffee farmers we need to adopt technologies that can support the sector to flourish during the current situation of climate change. There are technologies on the market which are cheap but can support coffee farmers during the drought conditions,” he said.
Some of the technologies which coffee farmers should embrace include the using of solar irrigation system, planting of improved coffee varieties that take short time to mature among other technologies on the market