By Patson Baraire
A grand plan has been hatched and finalized to carry out a rehabilitation and renovation expansion program to double increase coffee production in the country and in Kanungu District in particular.
The plan is being spearheaded by Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) which will involve the rehabilitation and renovation of existing coffee gardens trees in order to increase coffee production out put in the country.
According to a statement from UCDA , Kanungu and Sheema districts in South Western Uganda have been selected to carry out this project and in Kanungu , Omukazi W’omutima an organisation of aimable women involved in coffee growing, processing and packaging has been selected as a lead agency to implement the mega project.
Speaking to the Executive Director of Omukazi W’omutima, Tumwesigye Consolanta at her office in Kanungu Town, the project is in line with the Presidential initiatives to increase household income according to Vision 2040, Natiinal Development Plan-II and UCDA Coffee RoadMap.
Ms Tumwesigye told this Online Publication that deliberate efforts have been put in place to increasing coffee production and productivity along key agricultural value chains.
Omukazi W’omutima a women led social enterprise program and Cooperative Society, promotes Coffee industry as her flagship value chain.
She disclosed that UCDA has already earmarked March-May 2020 growing season and allocated Omukazi W’omutima Cooperative 44,766 bags of 25kgs organic fertilizer to be used in the rehabilitation of existing coffee farms in Kanungu District.
According to Ms Tumwesigye, the project scope covers strategic partnerships, linkages and collaborations with district leadership, local government structures, Coffee cooperatives, faith based organizations, development partners and community structures.
She said that it will entail farmer profiling and coffee trees audit, handling and transportation of fertilizer to Kanungu where it will be stored and secured until March 2020 when it will be distributed to beneficiaries.
” There will be community sensitization and mobilization for mindset change about coffee growing in order for the farmers to understand the value chain goals and this will involve training farmers in preparation for fertilizer application” Ms Tumwesigye said.
Ms Tumwesigye disclosed that farmers will also be sensitized about cost sharing methods that will be involved in implementation of the project since they are direct beneficiaries.
She said that the application is supported by extension services to all qualifying coffee trees farmers to ensure Quality assurance as part of monitoring and Evaluation, Accountability and reporting.
270,000 profiled households/farmers have already are being targeted to benefit from the project and 2.3 million trees have been audited as part of the rehabilitation program.
Tumwesigye explained that the intervention will focus on renovation and rehabilitation of old coffee trees which are above 8 years, by stumping (cutting) and applying 500gms per tree to enhance its quick rejuvenation life-cycle to increase production and that the project will further strengthen sustainable extension services using existing community systems & structures.
She emphasized that women in coffee will be encouraged to double their efforts for increased coffee production and productivity in their households and participate along the value chain.
While explaining the business approach in the implementation of the project , Ms Tumwesigye said that “Every Tree Counts” (ETC) model will be applied and therefore
coffee productivity is expected to increase from 4,600 Metric Tonnes (MTs) to 13,800 Metric Tonnes (MTs) per season in targeted households.
She also explained that the model further targets to increase household income irrespective of social status where for instance a household with 50 coffee trees will be expected to earn at least Ugx 1.5m annually where Ugx 125,000 is earned monthly while a household with 500 coffee trees will be expected to earn at least Ugx 15m annually while earning Ugx 1.25m monthly.