Over 45,000 coffee farmers from both Kasese and Kamwenge are set to profit from the 14.2 million coffee seedlings valued at Shs2billion committed by Hima Cement.
This follows Hima Cement’s recent signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Kamwenge local leaders to extend the Hima coffee project that is already in Kasese to this district.
While signing the MOU, the representative of Kamwenge District Farmer’s Organisation (KADIFO), Mr John Byoruganda said that these seeds come as a relief to farmers who have been hit hard by turbulent economic environment.
“As one of the districts with a history of coffee growing in Uganda, we are grateful to Hima Cement for reviving this glory and helping the farmers to improve their incomes and boost their welfare.”
He added: “This boost to the farmers is indeed timely because the tough economic times have left many households with insufficient income to survive. As farmers, we pledge to ensure that we get good yields from the seeds.”
Mr Robert Kamasaka, the LC V chairman, Kamwenge District urged the coffee farmers to take advantage of the opportunity to increase their yields.
“Hima has given us a starting point towards economic empowerment and ultimately, the ball lies with us to work harder and ensure that we produce good yields. The climate here is favourable for coffee growing and we have the land.”
In April, 2012, Hima Cement launched a multi-billion coffee project that will avail coffee seedlings to farmers in order to boost their incomes through increasing coffee production and ensure that farmers have a ready market for the produce.
Coffee is one of Uganda’s traditional cash crops. However, even though it has remained one of Uganda’s main exports, its impact has declined. About 200,640 tonnes were exported in 2008, earning Shs988 billion ($403.2 million). However, the sector contribution dropped in both 2009 and 2010. For example, between October 2008 and September 2009, only 186,000 tonnes were exported, earning Shs717.8 billion (USD293.1 million), reflecting a 25 per cent reduction in revenue compared to 2008. The fall in revenue was attributed to unseasonal rains, low international coffee prices and coffee-wilt disease.
Knowing its capacity, government and private players are now challenged with reviving the commodity’s glory.
By Nicholas Kalungi, Daily Monitor