By Ritah Kemigisa
Government has been advised to invest more in coffee research if it wants to develop the coffee sector and hit its target of exporting 20 million bags by 2030.
The advice made by Dr Fred Muhumuza, a development economist and senior lecturer at Makerere University comes at a time government has signed a coffee agreement with Uganda Vince Coffee Company Ltd owned by Italian Investor Enrica Pinetti to construct a multimillion dollar coffee processing plant in Namanve Industrial Park.
The Investor is expected to process Ugandan coffee in roasting and instant coffee for both the local market and export.
However speaking to KFM Muhumuza says making instant coffee is not the biggest challenge in the coffee sector adding that there are many challenges that the government needs to prioritize including; the huge debt burden, investment in health and Education and the security question that needs to be addressed.
“This is not the time, even if you zoom into the coffee sector, making soluble coffee is not our biggest challenge at this point in time, it’s something we can do later, right now we need to invest more in coffee research to deal with the diseases and productivity, we have old trees that need to be replaced,“ said Muhumuza.
Muhumuza meanwhile advises that the government concentrates efforts on the quality of beans being produced.
He said, “you are not going to boost coffee to 20 million bags by literally spreading out coffee seedlings because land is limited, the majority of the coffee farmers have two and half acres to four acres.”