The government has initiated a coffee growing campaign in Rukiga district. Rukiga, with a population of over 100,726 people, was established as a separate district from Kabale on July 1, 2017. It consists of several sub-counties and town councils, including Kamwezi, Kashambya, Bukinda, Rwaucucu, Muhanga town council, and Mparo town council.
However, many local residents rely on subsistence farming, leading to persistent poverty in the region.
During the campaign launch at Nyabunyungu village in Kibanda parish, Kamwezi sub-county, Jimmy Baluku, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) Manager for Kigezi and Ankole regions, announced that the government, in collaboration with the Rukiga district local government, is working with willing farmers through the “Kigezi Farmers’ Transformation Initiatives” group. This group has already prepared two million coffee seedlings for transplantation.
Baluku explained that agriculture experts have analyzed and approved the seedlings to be of 50 percent quality, with the remaining quality determined by factors such as weather, soil conditions, and post-transplant care.
If successful, this initiative aims to increase the number of coffee farmers in Uganda, currently standing at 1.7 million, which would boost income and employment opportunities. Uganda currently exports approximately 60 million bags of coffee per year, generating about USD 790 million in revenue.
Slyiva Arineitwe Mwanaki, the chairperson of Kigezi Farmers’ Transformation Initiatives, revealed that the association members decided to venture into coffee cultivation after recognizing that Rukiga district lacked a major cash crop to generate income, with farmers predominantly engaged in subsistence farming.
Robert Mbabazi Kakwererere, Rukiga District LC5 Chairman, announced plans to encourage farmers to replace eucalyptus trees with coffee plants. Under a memorandum of understanding with the district and guidance from Operation Wealth Creation, interested farmers will receive coffee seedlings from the association at no cost.
Ambrose Byarugaba, a farmer and Nyabunyungu village LC1 Chairman, along with Teddyson Niwagaba, Kamwezi sub-county LC3 Chairman, welcomed the campaign and highlighted the recent construction of a coffee huller in the district to enhance value addition.
Retired Colonel Joram Basheija, the OWC Director in charge of the western region, expressed readiness to support the program and assist farmers in Rukiga district in their efforts to alleviate poverty.