ZOMBO. As the lucrative coffee season sets in, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has embarked on coffee quality enhancement campaign in Zombo and Nebbi districts in order to guarantee quality.

Speaking during a pre-season coffee marketing meeting held at Paidha police station on Wednesday, Mr. Fidel Bakomeza, the UCDA senior quality control officer said there is need for a continuous interface with farmers and other stakeholders to realize improved quality and quantity

According to Bakomeza, the biggest challenges in the coffee value chain are post-harvest handling and poor storage facilities which must be dealt with collectively to enhance coffee quality.

“These illegal and un-certified stores are a big challenge because this is where coffee is adulterated; you cannot store coffee with other items like cement, cassava and firewood or any other thing that is not coffee,” he sad

Mr Sam Kermundu, the regional field extension officer UCDA, said enhancing quality is a collective responsibly which starts with the farmers and any mess on the side of the farmers affects the whole coffee value chain.

Kermundu said the vision for Uganda exporting over 20 million bags of coffee by the year 2025 will only materialize if quality is improved.

“Coffee is food and the taste of our coffee is cherished all over the world and this means we have to improve on productivity as well as quality to benefit from coffee,” he said

The UCDA technical officer Mr Atubo Andama said coffee has become the most lucrative crop to farmers in the West Nile region as it is bought at a higher price compared to coffee produced in Bugisu area.

Andama however said much as there are still some challenges regarding coffee; quality has so much improved compared to past.

He urged farmers to dry their coffee away from the road sides and town center so that people do not walk over it.

While monitoring coffee stores and wet mills in Erussi and Abanga sub counties in Nebbi and Zombo districts respectively, the UCDA team warned coffee dealers to make sure coffee is well stored with quality assurance in mind.

The UCDA officials have also encouraged farmers in Nebbi and Zombo to start picking their coffee cherries since leaving them to over ripen will make them fall to ground hence compromising quality.

In the meantime, no coffee companies including Kyagulanyi coffee Ltd, Kwacom and Great Lakes among others have come up with coffee price but unconfirmed report indicate that some individuals are buying coffee at shs2000 per kilogram.