The Katikiro of Buganda, Owek Charles Peter Mayiga has asked government to continue engaging farmers and the youth on coffee value addition and better post-harvest handling.
The Katikiro has been engaging farmers in Ssese County, Kalangala District in his two day visit in the islands speaking about better coffee farming practices in a drive dubbed “Emwaanyi terimba”.
Kalangala, an 84 island archipelago mainly focuses on Palm Oil Growing. More than 15,000 hectares have been planted with the cash crop. At the launch of the “Emwaanyi terimba” Campaign in 2016, the residents on the Island started engaging in the planting of coffee.
Currently, the Island has more than 1000 coffee farmers. These, inspired by the “Emwaanyi terimba” have been struggling with processing of coffee for better yields.
Many of the farmers have been spending up to Shs 60,000 to transport a bag of coffee to Masaka for processing.
It is upon such background that Paul Ssemanda, a coffee farmer at Ssese – Buyindi Mixed farm constructed a coffee processing machine called Ssese Coffee Center at New Town, Bweya that will handle the processing of all coffee collected from the seven sub counties that make up Ssese county.
While launching the coffee processing machine, Owek Mayiga commended him for the work, he also asked government to intensify better production through supporting farmers to engage in value addition and better post-harvest handling.
“The truth of the matter is that when you value your product you get more money that applies to coffee as well but value addition dose not start at the level of making strong coffee for consumption it starts right at the first stage the kind of seedlings you have for the farmers to plant must be the right quality they must be support there. It starts with the farming methods, it starts with the way you handle the coffee berries after harvest it involves processing of the coffee from the primary stage. Now anybody who talks about value addition must think about all these steps not only think about them but directly and positively support these steps. This is the private initiative by a private citizen so we would call upon government to get involved in all these stages. Marketing is the key in these areas first of all within the country and secondary beyond the borders. So when we talk about value addition, we support it as the Kingdom but we want it to done into the right stages and phases that should be done.” Owek Mayiga said
Currently a kilo of processed coffee is sold at Shs 7000. Paul Ssemanda, the owner of the processing machine, inspired by the “emwanyi terimba” project said, the machine now has capacity to handle all coffee produced in the island for better management and processing. He said, there has been trials and tribulations that surround the new development.
“We are still challenged by gamers who are still using the poor methods of drying coffee so we urge the kingdom to carry out more sensitization campaigns to the farmers on the ground about proper handling methods of coffee.” Ssemanda urged
The Katikiro later visited a 32 year old Kizza Dan Kyeeswa, a Boda Boda rider who saved dividends to start up a 3 acre farm at Kulugulu Bujumba Sub County, where he planted coffee of up to 1 and a half acres and, rears 27 cows and goats.
He also commended the work done by Kyeeswa and asked all riders and Ugandans to respect humble beginning and live a purposeful life that would lead to transformation.
“Bodaboda riding is a very challenged job waking up very early sleeping very late probably sleeping very little. Working in very harsh conditions so I appreciate them and I want to encourage them to continue doing what they were doing but bodaboda riding may give you daily income but it isn’t sustainable in the long run because the life span of the motorcycle is quite short so I urge them all bodaboda riders to get these days what they call a side hustle in the Kampala towns and the best side hustle they can have is farming and coffee should be the prior because coffee is a perineal crop you get it for a very long period of time and doesn’t require a lot of supervision especially after the early stage. So I encourage bodaboda riders to embark on coffee farming “Emwanyi terimba” but also to camplate with animal husbandry so that the dung from the animals regenerate the nutrients in the soil.” Owek Mayiga urged
The Katikiro also inspected a nursery that will help islanders get good quality coffee seedlings in Mweena, Kalangala Town owned by an Agriculturalist, Eugine Kitatire before ending his inspection and advocacy for further coffee growing.
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