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How To Earn Over Shs23m From An Acre Of Coffee Annually

On March31, 2018 I and other coffee farmers travelled to Buzami Village, Bunjakko Island in Buwama Sub-county, Mpigi District to learn about a new method of increasing coffee production and output.

As you approach the one–acre coffee demonstration farm set up by Joseph Nkandu, a prominent farmer and Executive Director at National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe), you’re welcomed by soothing breeze and beautiful sounds from Lake Victoria.

Joesph Nkandu in his coffee demo farm

But what is more fascinating is the coffee itself; the coffee trees look too squeezed so much that an ordinary farmer would imagine that the person who planted it doesn’t know what he was doing.

However, as Nkandu started the training, his enthusiastic guests begun to appreciate why they should adopt the new coffee planting method he copied from Brazil, the world’s leading coffee producer, at 55 million 60-kg bags annually.

During his visit to the South American country a few years ago, Nkandu realized that they had more coffee trees in an acre than Uganda. He replicated this method at his farm and is already earning handsomely.


Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has always advised farmers to plant 450 trees of Robusta coffee in an acre at the spacing of three metres by three metres.

However, Nkandu says the Brazilian spacing is the way to go because it maximizes land and labour. Under this new method, coffee trees are planted at spacing of one metre apart and the rows are three meters apart, implying that a farmer can have 1,300 Robusta coffee trees in an acre.

He advises that holes 2X2 feet (deep and width) are dug a month earlier before planting. He adds that a farmer should apply a full basin of manure (this can be cow dung, poultry droppings mixed with soil or composite manure) per hole before planting the seedlings.

Planting should be carried out at the onset of rains. He says after planting he applies 20 grams of Single Super Phosphate around the plant to boost the rooting system.

“You can have three acres of traditional spacing in one acre using the Brazilian model,” Nkandu said, adding: “Population is increasing but land remains fixed. We have many smallholder farmers which call for land maximization to increase productivity.”

He added that labour used on the 450 coffee trees of traditional spacing is the same labour required for 1,300 coffee trees under the Brazilian model.

Farmers undergoing training at Nkandu’s demo farm

Nkandu’s demonstration farm on the shores of Lake Victoria is slightly over two years old.

He revealed that he only plants clonal Robusta coffee against Robusta Elite that is being supplied to farmers by the government under UCDA in collaboration with National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

The word clonal means that the coffee plants have been multiplied asexually from a single parent plant or clone.

Unlike Robusta Elite seedlings that can be bought at Shs300, clonal Robusta seedlings go for an average of Shs1, 500.

He says clonal coffee is fast maturing, high yielding and resistant to diseases compared to Robusta Elite. At 10 months, clonal Robusta coffee starts flowering, implying that by one and half years, a farmer would start earning from his coffee plantation.

“With best agronomic practices, you can’t go wrong with coffee,” he said, assuring the group of farmers why coffee farming is worth it.

He adds that after three months, coffee should be bent towards East-West so as to develop more branches. A farmer is advised to leave 3-4 branches per tree. These branches help in increasing production and output.

Soil Testing Important

Nkandu says he carried out soil testing to help him ascertain nutrient composition, hence establish missing soil requirements.

He encourages farmers to do the same as this will increase their yields.

“If you realize there is lower soil PH, you can raise it,” he says, adding that coffee farming is a science throughout the value chain.”

Soil testing can be done at Makerere University.

Because of poor soils at his farm, Nkandu said that after five months of planting, he applies nitrogen rich nutrients while managing weeds very well as well as pests and diseases.

After harvesting, it’s advisable to take another soil nutrient analysis.


Water is very important for coffee farmers to earn big.

During the dry spell, Nkandu pumps water from Lake Victoria into the coffee trees using a ‘rain gun’.
Irrigation makes sure that the coffee trees have sufficient water all the time, hence high yields. He noted that coffee needs a lot of water during the flowering stage.

Nkandu’s demo farm is irrigated by water from Lake Victoria


He reveals that after 7/8 years, it’s advisable to stamp/cut the trees. Stamping is done at about 45 degrees using a saw so as to avoid the stems rotting. Stamping is done to allow new development of branches and maintain higher yields as older trees tend to experience low yields.

He advises farmers to leave at least one branch for cash flow purposes.


Nkandu revealed that he was able to get 2.2kgs of graded coffee in green form in his first harvest. He however, says that in the coming years, he’s optimistic he will get as high as three tons of graded coffee in an acre. The average price of a kilogram of quality graded coffee is about US$1.7 (about Shs6, 000).

Deus Nuwagaba, the Deputy Executive Director, Operations Management at NUCAFE added that without exaggerating figures, a farmer can earn as high as Shs23.4m annually from an acre of coffee with the modern way of spacing.

He says it is very possible to get 1.5kgs of green graded coffee per tree. Considering the 1,300 trees in an acre, a farmer will be able to get 1,950 kgs. Taking an average price of Shs6, 000, a farmer is able to earn Shs11.7m in a single season.

He reveals that there are two seasons in a coffee calendar year, implying that a farmer is able to earn a gross profit of Shs23.4m annually.

Advice to farmers
Nkandu advises farmers not to sell their coffee through middlemen. He says NUCAFE promotes the farmer-ownership model whereby a farmer owns the coffee throughout the coffee value chain.

“Don’t sell coffee when it’s on trees; you don’t know what you’re selling,” he says, adding: “A farmer should at least lose ownership at the graded coffee.”

He also advises farmers to train their workers on the best agronomic practices not only to increase productivity, but also improve on the quality of Uganda’s coffee.

Nkandu’s demonstration farm is surrounded by trees which he says is good for biodiversity.

“As a farmer, you need bees. I don’t have shade trees so the trees in the boundary are very important for the farm survival,” he says.

Asked about the availability of the market in future considering the fact that government is looking at producing 20m-60kg bags of coffee by 2025, in addition to mega plans by other countries to up production, Nkandu, said he has been involved in the coffee business for a long time and he sees the market of quality coffee guaranteed.

Big numbers

Currently, Uganda produces about four million 60-kilogramme-bags of coffee annually while Brazil which leads the world produces between 55 and 60 sixty-kilogramme-bags annually.
Nkandu says if Uganda increases the coffee tree numbers per acre from 450 to 1,300 in addition to using fertilizers, coffee production and output would jump.

Coffee is Uganda’s third foreign exchange earner after tourism and remittances.

Going forward, players like Nkandu are hopeful that the crop will reclaim its number one spot of bringing in foreign exchange once farmers are sensitized about the Brazilian method of farming, in addition to using irrigation farming in times of limited rains.

For quality Clonal Coffee Planting materials and consultancy, contact me via 0775170346/

Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

82 thoughts on “How To Earn Over Shs23m From An Acre Of Coffee Annually

  1. This information is really educating and is going to improve our plantations , thank you . What type of coffee can be planted in western uganda like in kikuube and how much I a seedling of clonal coffee

  2. Martin Kabuye

    I started the Brazilian style at two acres in kiboga, but I am interested in controlling weeds around the coffee stems. I remember apost about a method of doing it. Can someone help.


    Thank you for the knowledge please may i know how what reacquires to make visit or Programmed for Visitor of the Farm so that I can learn more from the Ground since this is practical work.


  4. Bwanga George

    Very insightful and educative .
    Thank you so much.
    I intend plant coffee in Iganga and Kamuli
    Where is the nearest source of clonal Robuster seedling for people in Iganga/Kamuli.
    How much is soil testing at makerere University?

  5. Tumushabe Nelson

    i have read all through all your coffee farming methods.that’s good to follow.
    thank you so much for that piece.
    hope to organize and visit your farm as family members.
    Nelson from Bunyaruguru.

  6. Adrian Muleeba

    Thanks for the great advice banange


    I want someone to do the planting and maintenance for my new 4 acreas using this new model of 1300 trees per acrea. Please send me an email before Monday 21st Feb 2022

  8. Harsha Hulangamuwa

    extremely educational thank you very much i am from sri lanka i will really go in for coffee planting in my land thank you once again for the excellent sharing of valuable knowledge

  9. Mutamba lowland

    It’s avery productive idea but farmers needs to be educated first but I believe those able can try it out

  10. Kabuye Martin

    Very impressive innovations, thank you 4 sharing with us

  11. Kelili Azizi kakule

    I got interested in coffee farming..I have 8acres of land in MASINDI .I would like to get contacts from clonal robuster coffee seedlings..I appreciate

  12. phillip ahebwa

    This is impressive to read. How do i get that breed of coffee here in hoima. i want to start planting
    it the coming season. (march/April). Please contact me on 0786915382. I

  13. Margaret E.

    Aprospective coffee farmer in the far East of Busia county in Kenya,how about cloned seedlings and the market? Thanks.

  14. Byamukama john

    Am so impressed with his teaching but some area of ug were coffee is grown we no machines gran coffee that y we seal to middle men sir

    • Byamukama john

      We call apone gvt of ug to set organisation wich will support small scale farmer to come up .by giving us grants .fertilizers herbicide s . insecticides so that we promote quality of coffee in ug

  15. its true u can get that amount of money , i started a farm like that four years back

    • Bakyayita jimmy

      Thanks I’m soon planting this coming season,and I am to use that spacing demonstration,and I am optimistic it work.thanks a lot.

  16. Swalle Excel

    Hello @Mr Mickey Lazar
    I am planning to start coffee growing in Uganda in Kapeeka and
    I would also love to know more about the Israel Technology
    My whats app number is +256702 429 934

  17. Busobozi Rogers

    I have a type of coffee grown mainly in west Nile I need help whether its either clonal or robust a coffee.0759191873


    Thanks Mr Nkandu for the great wisdom shared. I am very much inspired. Let me adjust the UCDA spacing I had followed.

  19. Kafuko EDMOND

    Thanx 4 da innovation plz..naye i wud lyk to no more about “FERTILIZER APPLICATION” At the top dressing stage in 3-5yrz.


    Thanks alot for that information
    I’m looking forward to applying fertilizers in my one acre coffee plantation that I have just acquired.

  21. Mazaki Leonard

    Thanks for that new model. I have 1.5 acres of land and am beginning the project soon. May you please guide on spacing.

  22. alice musubika

    Thank you so much. I have just acquired some land in mayuge. i would like to start up a commercial coffee farm. please give me some advise. plus how long does coffee take to mature. how long will i take to start earnimg from it

  23. Nahashon Martim

    Thanks alot may I have your number,in need of the seedlings

  24. Martin Mfitumukiza

    I want to start coffee farmingintrested in clonal any insight

  25. fred sensalo

    Thank you so very much Mr.Nkandu for you have contributed a lot to the development of agriculture and coffee in particular. Am a coffee farmer in Mityana on a small scale but am real proud of your contribution to this nation. Keep up the spirit and God bless the works of your hands. I saluti you for the nucafe Roast & Ground Coffee its real good am your customer and i real feel good when i buy it coz am giving back to my teacher and a fellow country man

  26. Moses Ainembabazi

    Very good innovation… I also started growing coffee in different parts of the country and I have a total of 10acres with different periods of planting …
    Am encouraged to see such a motivation .
    Thank you

  27. I want more seedlings 50000 of cloned robusta coffee please your contact

    • Reagan Ssegayi

      I’m a coffee mother garden operator certified by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, I have ready and mature coffee seedlings for sale and also I provide free knowledge on the 3m×1m system of planting coffee as showen by mr Nkandu. For the best clonal coffee seedlings ranging from Kr 1 to Kr 7, contact us on 0757194167 (Reagan) or 0756712518 (Stephen)

  28. Mwidu Bashir

    I appreciate your technical advice. I pruned at the beginning of the year and now the new shoots are blossoming,what can I do to ensure stability in growth? Please advise me.

    • Joseph Oryang

      Hello Mickey Lazar,
      I’m a prospective 1st time coffee grower in a region not yet known for coffee.
      I’m really interested in the Israeli technology you’ve talked about.
      Please give me more information.

  29. Mickey Lazar

    Hello Danson Mutungi,
    i can help you about that; please email me to

    in addition, i can assist you with Israeli technology to avoid weeds around the tree trunk (NO HERBICIDE!!), get same results with only 50% fertilization.
    the technology reduces the water needed for irrigation by 50%.

    if you do not have a water source near your land, an Affordable Rain Water Harvesting system can collect enough water to allow you very smart irrigation, thus allowing you to irrigate your coffee plantations during dry seasons.

    • Joseph Oryang

      Hello Mickey Lazar,
      I’m a prospective 1st time coffee grower in a region not yet known for coffee.
      I’m really interested in the Israeli technology you’ve talked about.
      Please give me more information.

    • Tom Ssemwogerere

      I would like you to share your telephone especially the one with WhatsApp. This contact will help in communication



    • Charles Maina Murage

      Hi guys
      I am from Kenya and I am happy to see Ugandan way of farming coffee.Us we plant arabican coffee.



  32. Nkurunziza Geofrey

    Nkandu’s method of 1,300 plants per acre are wealth creation.

  33. Jagat Jeet Singh Passi

    I m planing to start coffee farming on 250 acers in Uganda, I wanted to know the expenditure average on coffee through out year. My personal cell no and whtsapp no +91-9876226003
    Please write me back.

    • Isaac phrimon

      Hullo was impressed with this project of 1300 seedlings on an acher. But would like to know where can one buy good quality of colonal robuster coffee in uganda

  34. Richard Magoola

    It was a nice experience and now I would like to know the source of the seedlings.


    am requesting for aproper direction to mr nkadu’s farm and if at all there is a cost, the cost in order to visit his coffee farm.

  36. I appreciates your good advise thanks so much otherwise kindly Mr. Nkandu your namba boss.Am preparing to plant coffee yield three acres in Iganga district but am looking for seedlings. Thanks.

  37. Tk Jagwe

    Thanks a lot for the new coffee growing insights you have given here. am a bit disturbed about the amount of irrigation water needed for a plant in addition, can there be an irrigation schedule tailored to the our seasons here. i mean when a farmer can irrigate and what amount. i think u having seen how the Brazilians do it, we can also come up with such a schedule here.

    • Salamuka Racheal

      Am impressed by the new coffee and its methods. Am planing to start planting bit how do I get these good and new crops, how much will it cost me for an acre to the time of harvesting. Please contact me 0703637139. I need clonal robust now.

      • Fatinah

        Hello Charles,
        Fatinah here. I read that you wanted to plant robuster clonal coffee but you needed plantlets. Well, I have good ones and in case you haven’t got please contact me on 0772459126/0703850091.
        Am accredited by UCDA as a nursery operator and my prices are good.
        Find me at nkoowe, I wakiso district, 30metres off the main Hoima road.

  38. Nsubuga Mrs users Mustapha

    When is the next visit to Nkaddu’s farm?

    Can I get his contact (mobile number)

    Otherwise it was good literature. By God’s will I’ll take a lesson from this.

  39. Echachu mawazi

    Thank you very much I was rushing to plant this season because government has promised me 2000 seedlings free but now I have learnt the reason. Now where can I get the good clonal robust a coffee from so that I start next year. WhatsApp no is 0753977873

  40. George william

    I have 23 acres of land, could nucafe give me some advice or consultation on how to grow coffee same as this brazilian style?

  41. Deogracious Unegiu

    Anything about improving my Arabic coffee farm in Zumbo district uganda

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