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Decrease in coffee prices frustrate farmers and dealers in Masaka

Coffee
Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Coffee farmers and dealers in Masaka are stuck with their produce due to slump in local market prices.

Since the beginning of the year, the price of coffee has gradually decreased and of recent it has reduced by more than half to the cost of last year 2019.

According to the price noticeboard at Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA, a kilogram of processed coffee beans-FAQ varies between shillings 3,900 to 4,300 while unprocessed coffee commonly as Kiboko costs between 2,000 to 2,200 shillings.

Aloysius Mukeere, a farmer in Nakalembe parish, Lwengo district says that he is currently stuck with 3 tons of dried coffee after failing to get an attractive market price.

He explains that he has stocked his coffee produce since January this year expecting to fetch at least 3,500 shilling per kilo before processing which to his dismay has been in vain.

Moses Kizito Kibuuka, the chairperson of Kinoni Coffee Dealers and Processors Association which operates in Lwengo and Lyantonde districts says that the current market prices are unfavourable to both the primary farmers and local middlemen.

Kibuuka who is also an active coffee farmer is afraid that many farmers may give up on commercial coffee production into other short-term crops they presume more profitable and less demanding.

He has attributed the current situation to the very small size of the local market for coffee and its products which makes the country over-reliant to the export market where prices are largely determined by the quality.

Kibuuka says that many coffee exporters have also stayed away from the market due to quality concerns. He wants the government to intervene and support farmers with proper post-harvesting facilities to ensure quality coffee products for attractive prices at the international market.

Michael Joseph Ssali, another farmer in Ngereko village in Lwengo district indicates that decline in quality was caused by prolonged rainy season which affected the way farmers dried their coffee upon harvest.

John Mark Tamale the Operations Manager at the Greater Masaka Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative says that they are currently carrying out joint operations with field teams of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA to enforce proper coffee handling, for purposes of ensuring quality coffee production to meet export market standards.

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