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How to earn more from coffee



Farmers are advised to harvest only the ripe cherries

Coffee farming and its value chain is considered to be an activity mainly undertaken by male famers.
Female farmers have been urged to engage in coffee production because it is a crop which brings cash on table.
As such, women farmers engaged in coffee value chain are now getting organised in groups across the country in order to increase their income.
The plant is said to be contributing 1.5 percent of the GDP to the country’s economy amounting Shs1.6 trillion per annum
International Women Coffee Alliance Uganda Chapter has come up with a strategy of mobilising female coffee farmers across the country in a bid to produce quality coffee and increase yields.
Ms Teopista Nakkungu the country director of the organisation contends that women are good at tending to their farm produce and if engaged in coffee farming and following the right agronomy practices the yield can increase by 40 percent.

Conditions for growing coffee
Robusta coffee can be grown in a place located 800-1500 metres above sea level with rainfall of 1200-1500mm per year under the temperature of between 18-27 degrees Celsius.
Arabica coffee can be grown in a place of 1300-2200 metres above sea level with rainfall requirement of 1200-1500mm per year under temperatures of between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius.
The soil type is deep well drained fertile loam soil. Coffee requires fertile soils with high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Land preparation
Farmers are expected to prepare the land during dry season and ensure that they remove excess trees and stumps but leave some mature trees for shade.
Remove weeds by digging, hand picking perennial weeds or applying herbicides and build contour terraces, bands, grass strips and cut-off drains to prevent soil erosion.

Farmers are required to plant Robusta coffee in lines at a spacing of 10ft x 10ft and the seedlings rated at 450 trees per acre. For Arabica, the lines at a spacing of 8ft x 8ft with seedling rating of 680 trees per acre is required.
“Dig round holes and heap the fertile topsoil separate from the subsoil. Refill the holes with topsoil mixed with a basin of manure and a handful of DAP or SSP fertiliser,” says Nakkungu. The farmer is also advised to heap the soil above the ground level.

Seedlings and varieties
Obtain all planting materials from a certified source such as Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA). Farmers may raise their own seedlings using seeds or cuttings from a certified source.
The recommended varieties include NARO Kituza Robusta 8, NARO Kituza Robusta 9 and NARO Kituza Robusta 10 which were released last year.

Other varieties are KituuzaR1- R7 which are resistant to the coffee wilt disease
Farmers must plant two weeks after the onset of rains, trim off roots protruding beyond the polythene pots and remove polythene pots from potted plants before planting.

Farmers are expected to bend the six- month old coffee plants up to 45 degrees and along rows to stimulate growth of suckers. Allow only 2-4 healthy looking suckers which originate at about 0.5-1 foot from the base of the plant. Remove weeds in gardens of young coffee of up to a year old by digging and slashing or mulching.
Remove weeds in old coffee gardens by mulching, or alternating digging and slashing with herbicide spraying outside the canopy.
Ring weed below the canopy to avoid damage to the plant during slashing or spraying.

Remove unwanted stems and suckers and unproductive branches using secateurs or pruning saws. This encourages new growth and improves productivity. Remove broken stems or unproductive whole or part stems using a pruning saw to reduce pest infestation from the soil.

Stump coffee after seven years to renew the stem cycle and improve productivity. Leave a breather stem which should be removed six months after stumping. Stumping can be either staggered or clean stumping. If staggered, stump one in three trees every year so the entire garden is stumped over a three-year period.
Get help from the extension staff or a knowledgeable farmer when stumping coffee for the first time. The stumping should be at least 450 and sloping away from the breather stem.

Mulch coffee gardens with up to six inches of maize straw, bean trash, banana leaves, grasses or any other dead plant materials to conserve moisture, control weeds and soil erosion, and add nutrients to the soil.
Place the mulch one foot from the coffee stem to prevent infection from collar rot or attack from ants and termites.

Water conservation
Digging pits/troughs at some points of the terrace preserves rain water. Add a small amount of oil to the water trapped in the pits/troughs to prevent breeding of mosquitoes. Mulch coffee to prevent soil erosion and retain soil moisture. Plant cover crops such as mucuna, phaseolus beans, lablab and groundnuts. Plant shade trees such as bananas and grass at the edges of the gardens including ridges, terraces and contour bands.

Pests and diseases
The main pests are black twig borer, root mealy bug and white stem borer. Others are coffee berry borer and antestia bug, which affects Arabica only.
The diseases include coffee wilt disease (Robusta only), Leaf rust (mainly Arabica), Coffee berry disease (Arabica only) and Red blister disease.
Farmers are expected to control it using recommended pesticides and disease resistant varieties.

Do not strip all cherries off the branch, harvest only fully ripe cherries because unripe cherries will form black beans.
Overripe cherries give defects such as discoloured coffee beans, fermented and off flavours to the coffee cup. Ripe cherries give better quality coffee and therefore more money.
Keep harvested coffee cherries in containers such as baskets. Do not dry the coffee on bare earth as this results in soil microbial contamination.

Original Post: Daily Monitor

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National Coffee Forum Petitions Parliament Over UCDA Merger



Coffee stakeholders through National Coffee Forum say UCDA merger will disrupt the coffee sub-sector. Coffee is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange for Uganda

Coffee stakeholders through the National Coffee Forum – Uganda (NCF – UG) has petitioned Parliament through the Speaker over the proposed mainstreaming of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) into Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The government plans to merge a number of Agencies to the line Ministries in a move aimed at saving about Shs1 trillion annually. If the move succeeds, UCDA will be taken to MAAIF.

However, coffee stakeholders through NCF – UG say that they find the proposal to take UCDA to MAAIF untenable and detrimental to the coffee sub-sector.

NCF-UG is a private foundation whose membership includes farmers, processors, exporters, roasters, brewers and researchers, among others.

The Forum Chairperson Francis Wakabi says that mainstreaming the entity will negatively affect the achievements Uganda has attained in coffee production and export.

“This decision will negatively affect our access to the international market and will stunt Uganda’s economic growth opportunities by distorting the functions of UCDA that have stabilized the industry over the years,” said Wakabi in a petition dated February 21, 2024. The petition was copied in to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as all MPs.

He adds that Uganda should not risk its achievements by tampering with UDCA that is the main contributor to our coffee success story.

“Mainstreaming it would therefore disrupt the many livelihoods that depend on the industry and adversely affect the badly needed foreign exchange for the country,” the petition reads in part.

As a result of UCDA coffee regulation, Wakabi says that Uganda’s competitiveness was elevated on the global market, ensuring high quality Uganda coffee and enabling Uganda’s coffee to displace that of Brazil and India in Italy and UK coffee markets.

“… World over, coffee is supervised and regulated by a specialized body like UCDA for purposes of institutional memory and specialized focus. Experience from Ethiopia and Kenya who disbanded their specialized coffee authorities and mainstreamed them back into the relevant ministries had to reverse their decisions after registering negative outcomes,” said Wakabi.

The Forum further says that the European Union (EU) buys over 60% of Uganda coffee, making it the biggest market for Uganda.

“The EU has introduced a new regulation called the EU deforestation regulations (EUDR) which bans export of coffee from deforested land, taking effect from 2025. This calls for farmer traceability and the EU commission in Uganda is already working with UCDA to implement the said regulations. They require a country to constantly monitor deforested areas and map all the farmers for purposes of implementation of the farmer traceability program to maintain a high standard of quality. It was reported that Uganda has achieved most of the requirements under the EUDR and required a few steps to be declared compliant. Monitoring and implementing the scheme for the millions of farmers is a tedious activity which requires a specialized unit that can be best implemented using the already established structures of UCDA. Disrupting the current UCDA structure will not only halt the progress made in achieving compliance, but also risk reversing the gains made,” added Wakabi.

He avers that UCDA has been able to greatly contribute to Uganda’s improved Coffee quality through implementation of programs such as certification of Coffee nurseries to ensure quality of planting materials, Provision of Coffee specific extension services and agronomy to improve production and productivity, Provision of technical expertise in Coffee rehabilitation, post-harvest handling practices and pest and disease management and provision of coffee processing equipment like wet mills to farmers and cooperatives to improve quality and promote value addition. The coffee stakeholders are worried that once UCDA is taken to MAAIF which is loaded with many crops and projects, coffee, a key source of foreign exchange for Uganda may not get the necessary priority. Coffee stakeholders argue that if indeed Parliament is a people-centred institution, it should listen to the views of farmers and other stakeholders and retain UCDA as a semi-autonomous agency.

“Given the above position with the attendant reasons, the NCF advises that the proposed mainstreaming of UCDA into MAAIF should not be implemented and that the proposed Bill No. 30 (part VII) be dropped in order not to disrupt the industry and the progress made under the stewardship of UCDA. All coffee stakeholders are unanimously in agreement with this position,” reads the petition in part.


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Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease



Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases



ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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