National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe) is opening up opportunities for university students through the Union’s internship placements.
The move is aimed at skilling youth in agribusiness and give them the knowhow required by private and public sector employers.
Executive director Joseph Nkandu explains that Nucafe takes on interns from different academic disciplines and universities to equip them with a set of skills targeted by players operating from different nodes of the agricultural value chain.
This is to help beneficiaries broaden their employability and innovativeness through this hands-on initiative.
“We target to impact the agriculture sector through generating a new breed of human capital comprising young and educated people for the future of our economy.”
Nkandu made the remarks during an induction, coaching and mentorship training for more than 50 interns from different universities across the country.
They will be allocated different roles within the countrywide management fabric of Nucafe; at the secretariat, processing facilities and member associations and hubs.
Beneficiaries are students in fields such as food science and technology, agro-processing, engineering, human resource management, statistics, business and economics.
For a very long time Uganda’s annual coffee production has stagnated at about three million 60kg-kilogram-bags. About 42 per cent of households are engaged in coffee production and coffee farming has been linked with the country’s poverty reduction efforts.
The government periodically donates seedlings to households willing to take up coffee farming as part of the campaign to get more people to grow the crop.
Coffee is the country’s third most important foreign exchange earner after tourism and remittances from Ugandans working abroad.
The national objective according to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is to increase production to six million bags in 2019/2020 and 15 million by 2039/2040.
“Most of our producers are small-scale farmers with hardly any capacity to purchase more land to grow more coffee,” says Joseph Nkandu, the executive director, National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe).
“To increase production, they will not only need to plant higher yielding varieties and apply better agronomic practices. They will also try innovative options like planting more trees on the same acreage of land.”
The common practice among Robusta coffee growers is to plant about 450 trees in an acre at the spacing of three metres by three metres between trees and between rows. Yet in Brazil, which is the world’s leading coffee producer, at 55 million 60-kg bags annually, about 1,300 Robusta coffee trees are planted in an acre.
Coffee farmers have asked that the Government puts in place a national coffee fund through which they can access affordable long-term loans to produce more coffee and grow the subsector.
The head of their umbrella National Union of Coffee Agribusiness (NUCAFE) Joseph Nkandu said lack of access to affordable credit has limited job creation.
Nkandu was speaking during an event to present his Kenya Entrepreneurship showcase Award in Kampala recently.
Nkandu received the Kenya Entrepreneurship showcase Impact Award from the Italian Entrepreneurship for Impact Foundation and Tangaza University, Kenya, in recognition of his farmer ownership model innovation.
Vision Group in partnership with the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and farm enterprises (NUCAFE), have started a drive to ensure coffee exports rise in 20 million bags a year.
Currently, the country is exporting between two million and 3.5 million bags of coffee annually. The Vision Group-NUCAFE coffee campaign follows President Yoweri Museveni’s call to increase the exports to 20 million bags annually by 2040.
The drive will promote the entire value chain both a business and a source of employment for the youth as well as domestic consumption of coffee.
Vision group will create awareness of the commodity and the benefits to the individual and the country.
The partnership agreement was signed by Vision Group chief executive officer, Robert Kabushenga and the NUCAFE executive director, Joseph Nkandu, at Omukago Café on Buganda Road In Kampala on Friday. NUCAFE chairman Richard Ssendaula witnessed the signing.
Joseph Nkandu, the executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe), has won yet another international recognition for his efforts in empowering smallholder coffee growers in Uganda.
Nkandu recently scooped the 2016 Kenya Entrepreneurship Showcase Impact award. The annual impact entrepreneurship education awards, jointly organized by the Italian Entrepreneurship for Impact Foundation and Tangaza University, recognize individuals and organisations that have imparted skills to change businesses for the better.
Through the Nucafe network, which has more than half-a-million smallholder coffee farmers, Nkandu has helped the cash-crop growers move from selling unprocessed to processed coffee, which fetches more value and better prices on the market.