By Patrick Edward Musisi
Coffee dealers in Mukono have petitioned President Museveni to dispatch UPDF soldiers to help in cleaning post-harvest handling as an avenue for improving the standard of coffee for export.
Farmers also want government to cut down the amount of coffee seedlings supplied under programmes like ‘Operation Wealth Creation’, reasoning that much of the supplied seedlings dry up on people’s verandahs for lack of space to plant them.
Instead, through a petition sounded out by the managing director of Nakifuma-based Yawe Coffee Factory, Haji Umar Ddumba, the farmers suggested that the programme is boosted with supply of pesticides and fertilizers
Haji Ddumba was speaking toWatchdog Uganda about thehurdles encountered in the national campaign to revamp coffee growing on Friday.
He said despite efforts by Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) to sensitise farmers on the need to pick only ripe berries and to avoid drying on dirty ground, there is persistent prevalence of the problems which has led to recession of coffee quality.
“UCDA has financial and other limitations, but if government supplemented their efforts as was the case in the control of illegal fishing, we are optimistic that we shall make big headway in improving the quality, and hence demand, of our coffee on the wold market,” Ddumba said.
He added that farmers would be more comfortable with fertilizers and pesticides supplied by government.
“Many suppliers in the private sector are too crafty to be relied on for selling of genuine items.”
The farmer appreciated efforts by UCDA to train farmers and processors, as well as availing free pesticides
“However the supplies are inadequate to satisfy the national demand, hence necessitating government subsidies,” he added.