Over the last few months, we have unfortunately covered a number of stories concerning the theft of coffee from farmers, exporters and production facilities.
With coffee a potentially lucrative crop, we should not be surprised that supplies and warehouses are common targets as it represents an easy source of income for those successful thieves.
With the aid of abiTrust, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is launching a new initiative which, it is hoped, will help boost the quantity and quality of the country’s robusta crops.
“Many players came on board and started to compete and the quality declined,” said the UCDA’s principal officer of development, Apollo Kamugisha.
Forty-eight coffee processing facilities in the Kayunga District of Uganda have been closed down by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) for either failing to meet the required hygiene standards or for knowingly processing unripe coffee cherries.
The UCDA has also stopped the purchasing of coffee in region, which has drawn the ire of coffee growers, farmers and processors alike.
Around 6,000 coffee farmers in Uganda could benefit as Kawacom, a leading export company in the country, has started working with Starbucks in a bid to sell and promote Ugandan-sourced coffee.
The initiative, which started back in May, sees Kawacom supply the coffee used in Starbucks’ Sipi Falls single origin, which forms part of their exclusive Reserve Range of fresh coffee beans.
Described as being “clean, smooth and mild…with a sweet finish,” the Sipi Falls coffee features a signature lemony acidity, creamy mouth feel and noticeable caramel accents, according to the accompanying blurb.
Ever since the National Coffee Policy was formed back in 2013, coffee farmers in Uganda, under the leadership of the National Union for Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) have been somewhat engaged with the country’s policy makers. Now, they’re embroiled in a fresh bid to ensure that some changes are implemented; changes that it is hoped will increase efficiency and coffee production in the African nation.
A number of farmers believe that the existing rules – which are predominantly controlled by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) – are limited and could be improved upon.
With the aid of a $60,000 grant from the central government, farmers in the Nakaseke District of Central Uganda are looking to create their very own coffee processing and agricultural factory, local press reports.
In addition to a dedicated space for coffee farmers to sort their crop, the facility, which looks set to be erected in Kamuli Parish, Kikamulo, will also be home to a maize milling machine.
In relation to this story I was asked by a colleague “when somebody says smugglers, what do you think of?” My natural reaction – like many of yours I presume – was to associate smugglers with treasure, booze and drugs.
But, in Tanzania, coffee farmers, industry officials and government ministers are up in arms about a coffee smuggling operation that is seeing fresh beans transported into Uganda, denying the Tanzanian authorities – and many others to boot – lucrative export revenues.
The home of coffee, Ethiopia, is set to record a stellar harvest for the 2015-16 growing season and in doing so boost the entire output of East Africa to new heights, if the latest market forecasts are to be believed.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Addis Ababa bureau has predicted that Ethiopia’s farmers are expected to harvest just over 6.5m bags of arabica this year, a record high.
USAID’s substantial investment into the Ugandan coffee sector is something that we at World Coffee Press towers have been keeping a close eye upon since the funding was initially announced.
It’s no secret that coffee is an extremely important commercial commodity to many nations that inhabit the bean belt, none more so that Uganda where the crop is the nation’s major foreign exchange earner. And so when harvests decrease or market prices fall, it isn’t just the coffee farmers that suffer – it’s the entire country.
Some further details have come to light regarding USAID’s substantial investment in the Ugandan coffee industry.
The deposit will be managed by the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (more commonly known as NUCAFE) and is part of the US Government’s Feed the Future campaign.