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Minister roots for coffee growing in poverty fight

Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze has urged Kamwenge district residents to embrace coffee growing as part of efforts aimed at poverty reduction among the masses.

The minister, also the Kibale East County MP, said that coffee growing will ensure sustainable household earnings, improve people’s standards of living and boost the district’s economy.

Hon Tumwebaze was addressing residents, sub-county and district leaders in Kamwenge town.

Presently, Kamwenge grows robusta and Arabica coffee varieties but its annual production is not clear.

Commenting on the issue, John Byoruganda, a coffee farmer in Mabare, Nkoma sub-county, notes that maize that Kamwenge is known for was no longer sustainable and has more risks compared to coffee.

He said, previously, the improved coffee wilt disease (CWD) resistant seedlings were distributed for free by Uganda Coffee Development Authority but now cost sh1,500 each.

The minister, however, pledged to allocate five acres of personal land near River Mpanga where the district can set up coffee nursery beds, enabling farmers to access quality seedlings at affordable prices. He explained that the government would no longer give out free coffee seedlings, leaving private nursery operators to provide the service.

However, district female youth councilor Ruth Nabagahe cited access to quality seedlings and unstable coffee prices as some of the drawbacks.

Lack of land for production is a big issue among the youth, and limits them from venturing into coffee growing, according to Nabagahe. 

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