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Coffee Farmers in Mityana celebrate price hike

MITYANA, Uganda: Coffee farmers in Mityana under the Wamala Growers Cooperative Union are smiling following a slight increase of the coffee prices due to shortage this season. Scores of farmers who spoke to The CooperatorNews said much as the price increase is slight, its relief to them.

Harriet Mubiru a farmer in Wabigalo, Mityana said the price of kiboko now sales at shs2300- 2350, at times goes to even shs2400 per kilo. This is a slight increase from the previous shs1800- shs2200 respectively.

“It’s just because the season has been characterized by drought and shortage of coffee beans,” said Harriet.

Christopher Makubuya, the in-charge at the Coffee Grinding machine at Wamala Growers Cooperative Union in Mityana noted that he grinds a kilogram of Kiboko fee at shs130. “The coffee dealers purchase the kiboko at shs2300- 2350, grind a kilo and shs130, and come out with Kase (ground coffee beans) that they sell at between shs4,700 to shs4800: Makubuya told this reporter in Mityana.

He said the shs130 charged for grinding per kilo is what goes as revenue for Wamala Growers Cooperative Union.

Currently, a kilo of Robusta coffee goes for between shs4,850 to shs5,500, while that of Arabica goes for between shs5,200- 6,000 depending on availability.

According to statistics from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the country registered an increase of coffee by a million bags last year.

The government has an ambitious target of reaching 20 million (60kg each) bags per annum by 2020.

But the more realistic figure rests in the Uganda National Coffee Strategy Plan for 2015-2020, which sees Uganda producing 5.8m bags by 2020. This would rake in at least $1.1 billion, making coffee the second highest foreign exchange earner, after tourism, which brings in $1.5 billion.

The Kiboko coffee ready for grinding
The Kiboko coffee ready for grinding

Already, production sharp rose from 3.5 million in 2016 to 4.7 million in 2017. Coffee exports in 2017 earned $555 million (Shs2tn), compared to $371m (Shs 1.3tn) in 2016, according to official figures.

The government hopes its Operation Wealth Creation programme, through which up to three million seedlings have been distributed, will realize the desired coffee revolution.

An estimated 1.8 million Ugandan households are involved in coffee production, with 80% growing Robusta, according to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

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