Coffee farmers form cooperative to boost production, marketing
Coffee farmers in Ibanda district have formed a cooperative society that seeks to find ways to increase production and quality along the value chain.
Speaking during the launch of Ibanda Coffee Growers’ Cooperative Union at the district head offices on Wednesday, Herbert Happy Mayanja, the LC V chairman Ibanda district said the cooperative will help farmers to find better markets by removing middlemen who have been cheating farmers.
Mayanja added that middlemen have been taking advantage of desperate farmers and paying them peanuts for their coffee, which the cooperative will fight using its strong bargaining power.
He said the group also targets to export its coffee in the future to ensure farmers gain maximally from their investment in the crop.
According to Alison Mwesigye, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) coordinator for Ibanda and Kitagwenda districts, 600 tonnes of coffee from Ibanda district are exported by different individual traders.
The district targets to increase production from almost one and a half kilogrammes of clean coffee per tree annually to five kilos within five years.
Silver Nkwasibwe, the Ibanda district senior agriculture officer, explained the average production per coffee tree is currently at 1.4 kilogrammes, saying that it was very low.
Additionally, interim district and sub-county executive committees have been formed to spearhead the project as well as mobilize and register farmers.
The district committee of 11 members is chaired by Joseph Bankunda, from Rukiri sub-county in Ibanda South County.