Curious Roo - Uganda
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2000 farmers at the Kisinga Coffee Station near Kasese in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda
SL28, SL34, SL14 & Nyasaland
1700 - 2200 masl
Notes of Wine Gums, Strawberry, Blueberry and Chocolate
Most farmers have around 1 hectare of land, and all work on the farm is done by hand, usually by immediate family members. Families work together in groups, usually community based but sometimes also extended family groups, to process and market their coffee, an approach known as ‘share farming’. This helps them to improve processing, better control quality and increases their marketing ability.
Kyagalanyi is one of the entities tapping into this budding potential and making it possible for smallholders to participate in specialty markets. In Uganda, they operate three sustainable Arabica washing stations, all of which are UTZ certified. Their Kisinga Coffee Station presents to farmers a programme that incorporates processing infrastructure with agricultural extension services.
Kyagalanyi aims to build long term relationships with the groups in the region and works closely with them to develop the value chain. The work in the Bakonzo County has only recently begun, but already Kyagalanyi is assisting farmers with better market information, improved prices for better quality and advice on how farmers can improve their primary processing techniques. This area will soon become part of the Kyagalanyi Coffee Services program which aims to sustainably increase coffee production and quality.
This work over the past five years has resulted in improved adoption of stumping and inorganic fertiliser use in the Mount Elgon area and related increases in yields. Kyagalanyi are looking forward to seeing the same impact in the west.
Traditionally, soil fertility in coffee fields is maintained through agro-forestry systems, organic manure (cows), erosion control and some mulching with crop residues. However, nutrient removal rates through harvest are higher than nutrient inputs and nutrients supplied through soil weathering. Crop residues are often used to feed the cows, but 1-3 cows per 1 hectare farm cannot supply sufficient manure for good yielding production. Nutrient deficiencies are therefore common in the region. Kyagalanyi teams have seen strong responses to inorganic fertiliser in their demo plots and model farms. Farmers are appreciating the fertiliser recommendations and increasingly adopting them.
During the harvest season, Kyagalanyi encourages farmers to deliver cherry to their new, state-of-the-art wet mill instead of hand pulping on their farm. This has given the programme increased control over processing activities, which can be challenging in the region as rains during the harvest season are common. Most farmers live up to 50 kilometres away from the washing station. Due to the long distances, Kyagalanyi has a truck that offers free transport services that visits every farmer group 1-2 times per week during harvest season. As the coffee trees flower multiple times, the harvest season is quite long (4-5 months). Farmers normally pick coffee at least once every week.
Kyagalanyi implements a 95% red cherry policy. Farmers are requested to only bring in fully ripe cherry, and this is checked at every collection point. If the quality is not good enough, farmers will have to sort their cherries at the collection point until 95% red before their coffee is purchased. Kyagalanyi provides tarpaulins and racks to assist in the sorting.
This coffee was processed using the natural method. Once delivered the coffee is floated, and is then moved to dry on raised African beds inside greenhouses. It will stay here for around 15 days, and drying is controlled by turning the coffee regularly and maintaining an equal depth of cherry on the beds. The coffee will dry until it reaches optimal humidity.