UGANDA – Agribusiness Initiative Trust (aBi), a multi-donor entity devoted to private sector agribusiness development in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation has donated US$1.51 million worth of equipment to enhance coffee production in Uganda.

According to the Monitor, the equipment included two trucks, motorcycles, scale metres, laptop computers, furniture and moisture metres.

The investment is geared towards enhancing production and quality of speciality eco-friendly coffee as well as boosting incomes of more than 25,000 small scale coffee farmers.

“We must work together and seek interventions where possible to create business [coffee production] continuity.

We must all seek ways through which we can help to grow the coffee sub-sector into a sustainable business,” said the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe) executive director, Mr Joseph Nkandu.

He highlighted the need for stakeholders to invest in the coffee sub-sector to realise sustainable income growth and crop continuity.

According to him, Nucafe is currently implementing a five-year activity plan that seeks to reach out to more than 50,000 farmers across coffee growing regions with the view of building capacity for farmers to effectively implement good agricultural practises and climate smart agriculture for resilience in coffee farming.

Uganda, under the National Coffee Policy, is seeking to enhance coffee production, exporting at least 20 million bags by 2020 from the current 4.5 million bags.

Coffee remains one of the most important agricultural commodities and the major foreign exchange earner, contributing an annual average of 20% of Uganda’s total export revenue.

The country has been struggling to improve coffee production but is currently embarking on smarter agronomy practices to engage both women and the youth in the sector.

The government is seeking to boost volumes to achieve the ambitious 20 million bags by investing in initiatives like Operation Wealth Creation that supplies seedlings to farmers.

However, several hurdles stand in the way of achieving this goal including an ageing workforce.

In 2017, Uganda produced 5.2 million 60kg-bags and exported 4.6 million 60kg-bags, which earned Africa’s leading exporter and second largest producer a record US$544 million.

Uganda is now working with local and international experts in the sector to beat these odds.