Concerned about their low position in the coffee value chain, Ugandan coffee farmers are organizing themselves and focusing on how to climb higher up in the value chain where the real money is.
According to Joseph Nkandu, the Executive Director of National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), transforming the operations and profitability of Ugandan coffee farmers is their major concern.
This, according to Nkandu, will ensure Ugandan coffee farmers get value from their efforts instead of the coffee sector being dominated by foreigners.
Nkandu says frustrated with government’s half-hearted actions and inactions in the coffee sector, NUCAFE decide to take matters in their own hands and conducted a comprehensive analysis of the sector.
Nkandu says they developed the farmer-owner model through which they are developing their own local value chain from coffee growing to processing and exports.
NUCAFE now has over 200 coffee associations and cooperatives actively involved in the entire value chain including primary, secondary and tertiary processing.
According to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda exported 3.5 million bags of coffee in 2016, earning about 400 million dollars, equivalent to 1.5 trillion shillings from coffee exports annually.
Although Uganda is the biggest exporter of coffee in Africa, locally it adds value to and consumes little of her coffee. The coffee exports are also dominated by foreign firms.
In contrast, Ethiopia, which is the biggest producer of coffee, consumes about 60 percent of its coffee, exporting just 40 percent, and that explains why Uganda has become Africa’s biggest coffee exporter.