ZOMBO. Coffee farmers in Zombo and parts of Nebbi district have all the reason to smile after prominent coffee buying and processing companies, Kawacom Limited and Kyagulanyi coffee limited assured them of continuous purchase of coffee cherries instead of parchment.
In the mean time, 1kg of coffee cherries goes at shs1,300 while 1kg of parchment fetches shs4,500.
Going by calculation, 5 kg of coffee cherries makes 1kg of parchment that means a farmers who sells coffee cherries earns shs6500 per kilogram which is more profitable compared to selling parchment.
Mr John Onegi, a farmer in Padea Olyeku, Jangokoro sub county said selling coffee cherries is less hectic because all that is needed is to pick the cherries and sell unlike picking and pulping which is more time consuming and tedious to the farmer.
"Besides being more profitable, selling coffee cherries is less tiresome because you just pick and sell", he said.
Onegi appealed to cherry buying companies to capture the whole coffee producing areas in the greater Nebbi so that they equally benefit from the lucrative coffee venture.
Mr Jude Andama, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) technical officer for Northern Uganda commended Kawacom and Kyagakanyi coffee Limited for resorting to buying coffee cherries from farmers.
He said the initiative helps to improve and check on quality along the value chain since farmers have a challenge of post harvest handling.
"Buying coffee cherries is crucial in quality enhancement because these companies are more compliant to quality guidelines than farmers", he said.
According to Andama, Uganda would register tremendous improvement in the quality of its coffee if more companies ventured into buying cherries.
However, traders dealing in parchment are crying foul as farmers prefer selling coffee cherries than pulping and drying them before selling.
Mr Samuel Mukasa, a coffee trader based in Paidha town said the quantity of parchment they get per day has significantly dwindled since most farmers are selling their coffee in cherries.
"We are getting out of business because we can no longer get the quantity we used to as most farmers are selling their coffee in cherries", he said.
Mr Charles Oryema, the field supervisor Kawacom limited said they buy at least 100 tonnes of cherries every day and this is overwhelming to the wet mill that has a capacity to pulp 70 tonnes of cherries per day.
He said buying of cherries is a sure step to quality assurance since most farmers have a challenge of handling coffee along the value chain.
'We shall continue buying cherries because it is more profitable to the farmers", he assured.