Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Players in the coffee value chain have urged the youth and women to take advantage of the growing demand for coffee in Uganda and beyond to grow their income.
Speaking to The Independent on the sidelines of a Coffee dialogue at Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala on March 27, Paul Martin Maraka, the programme manager at African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) said there is an opportunity to supply coffee to big markets beyond Africa like China.
“Last year we led a mission to China and while there every single piece of roasted coffee that was on the shelves was bought by Chinese,” Maraka said.
He added that the Chinese are planning to increase local production [in China] because their demand is growing.
However, he said that African coffees are much better tasting coffees meaning there is an opportunity for Uganda to penetrate the China market.
He added that there are many international companies that are coming to set up base in Uganda, buying agricultural land, installing roasting facilities because they can see what is coming.
“Young people just need information,” he said, before urging them to join farmers’ associations, ensure high quality coffee handling and branding in a bid to take advantage of the new markets.
Speaking as a Guest, Eduardo Sampaio, the field representative of the global coffee firm, UTZ said Uganda that has majority of its population (75% being under the age of 35) has no better option other than attracting the youth and women to coffee business in an effort to boost economic activity.
He said that players need to train the youth and women on a holistic approach regarding quality, capital mobilization, research and technology, marketing and more throughout the coffee value chain if planned targets are to be achieved by the government.
Uganda is currently implementing an ambitious plan – the coffee roadmap – to increase coffee output from the current 60kg 4.5 million bags to 20 million bags by 2025. This would also increase Uganda’s export earnings from the commodity from over US$500 million recorded in FY2016/2017 to around $2.2bn per year, attract financing to the industry to the tune of $1.3bn and improve household livelihood by Shs 1.5million per annum.
The half day meeting dubbed ‘Youth and Women in Coffee Annual Power Talk’ was organized by AFCA with funding support from UTZ. Over 300 youth and women took part in the meeting whose core objective was to house young people and women to talk and listen to experts on how to join and cement their coffee trade.