By: Doreen Nasasira
The Minister of State for Luwero- Rwenzori Triangle, Hon. Alice Kaboyo has called upon key stakeholders in the coffee value chain to strategise on how coffee productivity can be enhanced in the Rwenzori sub-region.
The Minister made the remarks during the three days’ workshop that was conducted in Kasese District to improve coffee production in the country.
The workshop was organised by Agri Evolve, a social enterprise that specializes in the production of Arabica Coffee in the country and supports over 1,000 coffee farmers in the Rwenzori Sub-region by providing them with opportunities such as training, funding and market for their products among others.
Hon. Kaboyo said a pilot study should be conducted in the Rwenzori sub-region to investigate how coffee productivity can be enhanced in the area due to the presence of fertile soils and the market for the product.
She added that coffee growing is the main economic activity engaged in by most of the civilian veterans in the country and it should be prioritized and aligned to the Parish Development Model.
The minister called upon the stakeholders in the coffee value chain to support coffee farmers in the Rwenzori Sub region to engage in good methods of farming as well as handling other obstacles that impede coffee production.
“The stakeholders in the coffee value chain need to work closely with the Local Government to find ways to support the coffee farmers. The farmers should be encouraged to practice afforestation and to use the coffee trees for terracing to mitigate soil erosion,” Hon. Kaboyo said.
Other challenges faced by the coffee farmers in the Rwenzori sub-region include; Pest and diseases that attack their yields, poor postharvest handling, poor seedlings, poor road network and limited funds to undertake research among others.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Maj. Gen. David Kasura urged the coffee manufacturers and exporters to pre-finance the farmers to venture into coffee farming on a large scale so that production can be increased.
The Managing Director of Uganda National Coffee Development Fund(UNCDF), Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira called for the building of strong cooperatives for the coffee farmers in the Rwenzori sub-region so that they can access financing and market for their products.
The Managing Director of Agri Evolve, Jonnie Rowland asked the government to improve the road infrastructure and the supply of electricity in the Rwenzori sub-region so that coffee production can be enhanced.
The workshop was also attended by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Fred Bwino and the Chairperson of National Planning Authority, Prof. Pamela Mbabazi among other government officials. END