The government has initiated a significant campaign to promote the cultivation of Arabica Coffee in Rukiga district. This district, which was established on July 1, 2017, following its separation from Kabale district, has a population of over 100,726 residents. The district is made up of various sub-counties and town councils, including Kamwezi, Kashambya, Bukinda, Rwaucucu, Muhanga town council, and Mparo town council.
Despite its population, a large portion of the local residents rely on subsistence farming, which has contributed to widespread poverty in the area.
During the campaign launch in Nyabunyungu village, Kibanda parish, Kamwezi sub county, Jimmy Baluku, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) Manager for Kigezi and Ankole regions, announced that the government, in partnership with Rukiga district’s local government, has joined forces with willing farmers in the district under the “Kigezi Farmers’ Transformation Initiatives” umbrella. They have already prepared two million Coffee seedlings for transplantation.
Baluku stated that these seedlings have been carefully analyzed and approved by agricultural experts, guaranteeing a 50 percent quality. The remaining quality will depend on various factors, including weather conditions, soil quality, and proper care after transplanting.
Success in this initiative could potentially increase the number of coffee farmers in Uganda, currently standing at 1.7 million, which would enhance income and employment prospects. Uganda currently exports approximately 60 million bags of coffee per year, generating around USD 790 million in revenue.
Slyiva Arineitwe Mwanaki, chairperson of the Kigezi Farmers’ Transformation Initiatives, explained that association members initiated coffee cultivation after recognizing that Rukiga district lacked a major cash crop to generate income, with most farmers relying on subsistence agriculture.
Robert Mbabazi Kakwererere, Rukiga District LC5 Chairman, revealed that the district plans to educate farmers about replacing eucalyptus trees with coffee plants. Under a memorandum of understanding with the district and guidance from Operation Wealth Creation, interested farmers will receive coffee seedlings from the association at no cost.
Ambrose Byarugaba, a farmer and LC1 Chairman of Nyabunyungu village, along with Teddyson Niwagaba, Kamwezi sub county LC3 Chairman, welcomed the campaign, noting that it comes at an opportune time, especially with the construction of a coffee huller in the district to enhance value addition.
Retired Colonel Joram Basheija, the OWC Director responsible for the western region, expressed readiness to support the program’s progress and help farmers in the district overcome poverty.