The desire to lure youth and women into coffee production will remain farfetched unless regulation issues are sorted out.
Speaking at the just concluded Youth and Women Coffee Power Talk, the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises executive director, Joseph Nkandu said: “We need a national coffee law to address certain aspects such as attracting youth and women into the sector.”
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and UCDA, coffee is mostly controlled and owned by people aged about 65 years and above, which is about 3 per cent of the 40 million population.
The UCDA Act is not expansive enough to attract youth and women into the sector. According to Eduardo Sampaio, a coffee expert from Brazil, teaching youth and women will attract attention into the coffee sector thus becoming appealing and profitable.
Experts in the coffee sector say making land available to youth and women as well as access to affordable credit facilities will improve coffee production. According to Maggie Kigozi, an investment promotion expert and a coffee farmer, youth and women need to be empowered to improve Uganda’s coffee fortunes. “We need to show them that coffee is a business and it has success stories,” she says. Martin Maraka, the programme officer at the African Fine Coffee Association, says if Uganda is to realise the dream of producing 20 million bags of coffee by 2025, youth who are the biggest resource, should be involved. “More young people need to be involved and know where they can participate in the sector if this target is to be achieved,” Maraka says.
Uganda nearly exports five million (of 60 Kilogramme bags) worth $550m (Shs2 trillion). Uganda is the leading exporter of coffee in Africa followed by Ethiopia. However, the country’s consumption rate is still low standing at between 2 and 7 per cent compared to Brazil’s 40 per cent. [email protected]
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