By Faridhah Kulabako, newvision.co.ug, Uganda
Uganda needs to empower the youth to fully participate in the coffee value chain to increase productivity and meet the 20 million bag target by 2020, a stakeholder has said.
Joseph Nkandu, the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe) executive director, said while the Government seeks to boost coffee exports from three million to 20 million bags annually by 2020, this will not be possible without empowering the youth to tap into the coffee sub-sector.
“We need to exploit the energies and innovativeness of the youth to boost coffee production to the 20 million bag target by 2020. Producing 20 million bags of coffee means that you have created over 10 million jobs for other unemployed youth,” Nkandu said on the sidelines of the Gayaza High School farm camp recently.
There is a new coffee Bill in offing that seeks to preserve the quality and boost coffee production from three million bags, where it has stagnated for about 20 years.
Currently, coffee buying and selling is governed under the Coffee Regulation 1994 and Coffee Development Authority (CDA) statute 1991.
Uganda exported 3.56 million bags of coffee, worth sh1.17 trillion ($352m) in the 2015/16 financial year running from July 2015 to June 2016, according to data from CDA, down from 3.44million bags the previous year, estimated at sh1.36 trillion ($409m).
Nkandu added that there is also need to change the negative attitude the youth have towards agriculture and encourage them to pursue it as a profession.
The farm camp was organised by Gayaza High School in partnership with Nucafe, Food and Agricultural Organisation and AVSI, a non-governmental organisation, to skill students from 35 schools across the country in how to run sustainable agribusiness enterprises.
Organised under the theme: “Skilling the youth for agribusiness and selfreliance”, the camp sought to change the mindset of the youth in schools about agriculture through exposure to agribusiness and training them in scientific approaches to agribusiness.