Ibanda Promotes Local Coffee Consumption to Boost Market and Health

Ibanda Promotes Local Coffee Consumption to Boost Market and Health
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Levi Tibenderana, a coffee grower in Kigarama lower, Bisheshe Division, Ibanda municipality, has been cultivating coffee for many years. Surprisingly, he does not consume the beverage himself; instead, he sells the beans he produces. This pattern, common among many farmers, contributes to the low prices for coffee beans and has spurred local officials into action to encourage the consumption of coffee within the community.

Ibanda municipality’s senior agriculture officer, Javenal Byaruhanga, expressed concern, stating that many farmers lack awareness of where their coffee goes after they sell it. To address this issue, the district and municipality are working to shift the focus towards promoting local coffee consumption to stimulate demand.

Byaruhanga emphasized that in comparison to Ethiopia, where coffee consumption exceeds 40%, Uganda considers coffee consumption as an activity for the elite. They aim to foster a culture of coffee drinking within coffee-growing communities, believing that this will enhance the connection and appreciation for the crop, ultimately benefiting farmers and the local economy.

The senior agriculture officer also pointed out that aside from boosting the market, drinking coffee offers health benefits due to its antioxidant properties, which help detoxify the body. Byaruhanga encouraged farmers to add value to their beans, as coffee prices can significantly increase with local demand.

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He mentioned that a 150g tin of Nescafe sells for 18,000 shillings, while a kilo of clean coffee costs about 8,000 shillings in Ibanda presently.

Byaruhanga’s remarks came during a training workshop on coffee management held on October 10, 2023, hosted by Martin Bambeiha, a model farmer. This workshop attracted 30 coffee growers from Kigarama ward in Bisheshe Division, Ibanda Municipality, and neighboring areas.

The senior agriculture officer expressed satisfaction that there are individuals in Ibanda who locally process coffee. They hope to use this as a means to promote coffee consumption across the district.

Meanwhile, officials advised farmers to stop the practice of drying coffee cherries directly on bare ground, as it negatively affects the coffee’s natural aroma, making it smell of soil. Byaruhanga recommended drying the cherries picked from the ground and separating ripe and overripe cherries to maintain quality.

Rose Atusasire, the coordinator of Ibanda Coffee Co-operative Union, highlighted the loss of quality during the coffee harvest, as many farmers pick unripe and overripe cherries, affecting the taste and aroma of the beans.

Martin Bambeiha stressed the importance of only picking ripe cherries, which ensures a good yield and better returns. He shared that this practice helped him earn 5.14 million shillings from 135 coffee trees last season, underscoring the financial benefits of maintaining quality and good farming practices.

Regarding storage, farmers were advised to keep properly dried coffee on racks off the ground to prevent moisture-induced mold. It was emphasized not to store coffee in places where it could come into contact with other items, as this can compromise its quality and aroma.

Bambeiha, a seasoned figure in the coffee industry, pointed out that Uganda’s Robusta and Bugisu Arabica coffee are highly sought after on the global market due to their quality, sweet taste, and rich aroma. He emphasized the need to safeguard this reputation to remain competitive on the world stage.

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