The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has taken significant steps to ensure the adherence to coffee processing and harvesting guidelines by reopening primary coffee-processing factories in the Greater Mukono, Luwero, and Busoga regions. This action comes after these facilities were temporarily closed in mid-August due to reports of non-compliance with industry standards.
The UCDA’s decision to close these factories was prompted by a number of concerning issues. Some of the factories were found to be processing coffee cherries that were unripe and wet, while others were operating in poor hygienic conditions.
It was noted that some facilities lacked cemented floors, and many of their machines lacked necessary guards on their moving parts. Additionally, in some instances, the coffee stores could not be accessed by the regulator.
The reopening of these factories, as announced in a statement by UCDA, is founded on the belief that coffee is now ready for harvest in accordance with UCDA standards. Alice Nansamba, a UCDA technician responsible for the central region, emphasized the benefits of harvesting mature and ripe coffee.
Farmers stand to benefit from higher yields, as mature coffee cherries are heavier, allowing them to sell more kilos to traders. Moreover, the processing of mature coffee consumes less electricity and places less strain on machinery, making it a win-win situation for both farmers and processors.
The decision to temporarily close the factories was made with several objectives in mind. UCDA aimed to safeguard the interests of buyers who provide funding to farmers, protect farmers from undue pressure, and maintain the quality of processed coffee.
Nansamba emphasized the importance of farmers adhering to coffee regulations to ensure high-quality production. This includes proper hulling or processing of well-dried coffee, harvesting only ripe cherries, and implementing effective post-harvest practices.