As Uganda hosts the 16th African Fine Coffee Conference in Kampala from February 14-16, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has stated that 42 percent of Ugandan households grow the country’s number one foreign exchange earner.
UCDA says the 1.8 million Ugandan households that grow coffee make Uganda the number one exporter of the crop on the African continent even as Ethiopia is the continent’s largest producer that consumes most of its produce domestically.
Uganda, the birth place of Robusta coffee, also grows Arabica coffee and according to UCDA, is the eighth largest producer of coffee globally. The country exported 4.6 60kg bags in coffee year 2016/17, earning US$545m in the same period, which was 20 percent of the total foreign exchange earnings.
According to UCDA there is approximately 353,907 Ha of land under coffee production with Robusta occupying 80 percent and 20 percent planted with Arabica. UCDA says about 111.000 ha of land is available for coffee production in the north, west, east and central Uganda.
UCDA says that coffee in Okoro from the West Nile mountain ranges is characterized by a strong body and medium acidity while Kisoro coffee from Mt. Muhabura provides a unique floral flavor. Coffee in Bugisu comes from Mt. Elgon and is reminiscent of the fine taste that is the characteristic of the East African Arabicas.
On the other hand, highland natural Robusta is renowned for its soft and sweet flavor while Drugar coffee is from the slopes of Mt. Rwenzori.
UCDA says that joint ventures and concessions if utilized could unlock further opportunities in coffee production as middle-class land owners and institutions that own land want to make productive use of the land