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Cabinet approves national coffee policy.

The Cabinet has approved the national coffee policy aimed at increasing coffee production and help Uganda regain its former position as the largest coffee producer in Africa.

The minister of state for Karamoja Barbara Nekesa, who was Thursday briefing journalists on outcomes of the weekly cabinet meeting, said the policy will help promote coffee growing in new areas and expansion in traditional coffee growing areas.

Nekesa said, “Coffee remains the most important agricultural commodity and the major foreign exchange earner and has been contributing an annual average of 20 percent of Uganda’s total export revenue for the last 10 years.”

She said that despite the importance of coffee in Uganda, the country has never had a comprehensive coffee policy.

“The Government policy on the coffee subsector has been scattered in various documents and implemented by different institutions thus making it difficult to have an effective strategy to achieve the desired growth,” she added.

She said that the policy will aim to increase farm production in a sustainable way, which addresses the social, ecological and economic dimensions.

Also, the policy will aim to promote and support the adoption of good agronomic practices such as proper spacing, pruning, and mulching at farm level, as well as improve management of coffee diseases and pests.

It will also improve access and use of agro inputs in the coffee subsector, as well as mainstream the participation of women and youth in the coffee value chain that ensures gender equity.

Nekesa said that the policy would also promote environmental biodiversity conservation practices in the coffee production systems, promote and support coffee farming as a business for small holder farmers and farmer organizations.

It will also support the establishment of a coffee research trust fund to ensure sustainable financing for coffee research; as well as strengthen the linkages in coffee research, development and extension.