Uganda is located astride the equator at an altitude ranging between 900-2,300m above sea-level with a bimodal type of rainfall averaging 1,110mm per year. It grows two types of coffee.
Coffee is an important crop and is mainly grown by smallholder farmers numbering 1.2million households. Over 3.5 million people derive their livelihoods from the coffee sector in Uganda.
Among the many growers, we had a one-on-one discussion with Mrs Batulu from Mbale & here is a brief of her coffee journey.
An insight (story) with one of our women coffee growers in Mbale district under Bufumbo Organic Farmers Association
Name; Batulu Kainza
Title; Board Member
Organization; Bufumbo Organic Farmers Association (BOFA)
Location; Mbale district
Number of children; 5
Native produce; coffee, maize, tomatoes, beans
Farming experience; 20 years
Specialized in Arabica coffee for 9 years
Mrs Kainza was inspired to grow coffee because it has greater returns than any other crops.
Achievements for growing coffee;
- Bought land
- Supporting the husband to take care of the home
- Invested in a small-scale business i.e. selling clothes, sewing ladies clothes
- Bought some cattle
- Support husband through education
- To support fellow women (1000) who are in need especially the single mothers who lost their husbands & the divorced ones.
- Skills training for women i.e arts & crafts for sale
- More training on coffee farming from the initial stage (growing) to storage & later to the final consumer
- Encourage husbands to give their wives tree plants to encourage them to do farming
- Support women who are disabled by constructing for them homes
- Provide capital to help women to start up their businesses
- Support the under privileged children to attain skills & education
- Shortage of finance to recruit casual laborers to harvest the coffee seeds
- Coffee pests affect the crops
- Machinery to improve on coffee processing is lacking
- Coffee theft while in the plantations
- Coffee tree plants are expensive
- Coffee fluctuating prices depending on the season
- Lack of adequate skills to grow & store the coffee after harvest.
THE COFFEE FARMING PROCESS (100% ORGANIC)
Initially the farmer prepares a seed bed before planting the coffee. When the coffee trees grow up to 3.4ft in height while still in the bed, they are collected from the bed & transferred to the main coffee plantation.
While planting the mature coffee trees, the farmers plant the trees in a space of 1ft apart from each tree. In order for the coffee beans to grow into well round & natural coffee with a good aroma, our farmers use cow dung to fertilize the soils.
Within a 3 weeks period, weeding takes place to ensure that the coffee plants grow well without effects of pests. In a period of 1-2 years, the coffee beans are ready to be harvested.
After the harvest, (2 days), pulping takes place. On day 3 after coffee harvest, the beans are washed and dried using mild sunshine for the next 3 days. After drying the beans, the coffee is kept in an isolated place to retain its aroma & is ready for sale.