Greater Masaka Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative has ventured into coffee roasting to promoting the indigenous cash crop and improve their incomes. Coffee roasting, encompasses a heat process that turns green coffee beans into fragrant, dark brown beans. After roasting, the crunchy beans are then ready to be ground and brewed.
The latest brand of locally roasted ground coffee named Masaka Roasted and Grounded Robusta Coffee has been unveiled during the cooperative’s exhibition held at Maria flo hotel in Masaka town at the weekend.
Reverend Father Peter Paul Kibuuka, the cooperative’s projects director says that they were driven by the urge for value addition in the coffee chain through which they would eventually address its underutilization and improve the earnings for local farmers.
He says they undertook to roast coffee, as a viable venture that can potentially reduce the overall bulk of coffee sold as raw material, but maintain its value both on the local and international markets.
Fr Kibuuka explains that they also intend to use the product as another precursor for the revival of vibrant coffee farmers’ cooperative societies, which largely boosted the social-economic status of the region several years ago.
John Mark Tamale, the Cooperative’s Board Secretary adds that besides making substantial direct earnings from the project, they also intend to use it in promoting proper post-harvest handling practices among farmers and to eliminate incidents of rejecting Uganda’s coffee produce on the export market over quality concerns.
He says that Masaka Roasted and Grounded Robusta Coffee has been already distributed to several outlets across the country. They are now working on modalities of exporting it.
The consumption rate of coffee in Uganda is still so low, standing at not more than 5 per cent of the local coffee production. Inspire Africa, a development agency that among other things, promotes local coffee consumption projects a 10 per cent increase in local consumption of coffee, which could earn Uganda 7.7 trillion Shillings (USD 2.3 billion) per year.
Figures at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA indicate that the country’s coffee production capacity increased to at least 5.1 million 60-kg bags, up from 4.4 million bags in 2018.