Uganda has improved in the ranking of coffee quality produced according to the just released international rating.
According to the Coffee Quality Institute of the United States of America, Uganda is third best of the countries producing quality coffee in the world. Uganda comes third after Ethiopia and Kenya respectively in 1st and 2nd position.
Uganda has scored a rating of 84.05 according to 1,229 professional coffee tasters certified by the Coffee Quality Institute-CQI. Ethiopia is number one with a rating of 84.88 and and Kenya comes second at 84.31 on the CQI reported grading scale out of 100.
Three East African countries are among the top 10 countries producing quality coffee, with Tanzania in 10th position.
According to Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Executive Director Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the conclusion was made after the tasters made research from different coffees harvested from around the world from 2010 to 2018. He says Uganda that currently leads coffee production in Africa and lies in eighth position in the world should use the coffee production to create employment for the youths in the communities.
According to the CQI, the graders run 22 tastes before ascertaining the quality of coffee from particular countries with a cumulative figure that determines its ranking position.
Jane Nansubuga, a coffee consumer for the last 21 years says Uganda coffee taste has improved in quality for some manufacturers and barristers who produce it well, but many producers lack the proper production, packaging and branding to attract more consumers despite the coffee quality in Uganda.
Joseph Nkandu, a coffee farmer with NUCAFE says the gains in producing quality coffee came as a result of group coffee farming under the farm model where farmers are taught how to plant, harvest, store and look for markets.
“Farmers unlike in the past, plant quality seed, use the right inputs, spacing on farm and harvest the ripe fruit. The post harvest handling has also improved with farmers drying coffee on plastic sheets, mats, use solar driers to get the right moisture levels and store the coffee in gunny bags and air tight containers.” Nkandu said.
This has improved the coffee value chain within the last two years since the launch of the coffee road map in 2018. The farm ownership model builds farmers’ abilities to be in charge of their own affairs and be responsible for their actions on the farm and after harvesting the coffee. It addresses the inefficiencies in the coffee value chain that had dwarfed quality coffee production in the previous decade.
Nkandu says that farmers add value to their coffee, sell it locally and out of Uganda which is well stipulated in the coffee road map of Uganda.
Uganda’s coffee export has also increased in the last two years in the 2019/2020 season, lasting from March 2019 to February 2020; exports amounted to 4.74 million 60-kilo-bags worth USD 459.52 million, compared to 4.24 million bags worth USD 435 million in 2018/2019.
Exports of the Robusta variety in February 2020 increased by 48.61% in terms of quantity and 43.05% in terms of value, and 36.8% and 44.28% respectively for the Arabica variety compared to February 2019 due to the increase in production.