UCDA boss Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye (L) interacting with Rev. Fr. Simon Peter Kyambadde, Projects Coordinator Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese & Fr. Emmanuel Tamale.
Under the National Coffee Roadmap, Uganda targets raising annual coffee production to 20 million bags by 2025. Promoting concessions for coffee production on large underutilised land is one of the initiatives identified in the roadmap.
UCDA distributing coffee seedlings to churches
To boost coffee production among churches, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) allocated and distributed 172,400 CWD-r plantlets to dioceses, archdeaconries and Church parishes in Central, Greater Masaka, Rwenzori, South Western, and Western regions to establish coffee plantations. By the end of the planting season in May, a total of 388 acres will be planted with coffee in the ongoing programme.
The Catholic and Anglican churches hold large tracts of land. If put to productive use through coffee-growing, they can be a catalyst for development by increasing coffee production in Uganda and generating income for the Church and parishioners.
According to Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Manager Director at UCDA, this programme will enable churches to establish large-scale coffee farms and help boost coffee production, generate income for communities and church institutions which is in line with the Coffee Roadmap.
UCDA also allocated 2,100 plantlets to establish a mother garden in North West Ankole Diocese in Ibanda district.
It will be a continuous source of shoots and high-quality plantlets for other farmers.
Passion for coffee
Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese is one of the beneficiaries of the UCDA coffee seedling distribution programme. The Diocese received 40,500 seedlings. The plantlets have been distributed to 28 parishes in 5 districts of Kassanda, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Gomba and Mityana.
Fr. Simon Peter Kyambadde, the Project Coordinator at the diocese says coffee growing will help boost the income of both the church and the community members.
“As we preach the word of God, we have to ensure that we support the community to fight poverty,” Fr. Kyambadde said.
In 2020, Fr. Kyambadde applied to UCDA for 10,000 coffee seedlings which he received and distributed to 5 parishes.
Seeing how well the coffee performed, this year, the church decided to involve other parishes.
“In 2020, people were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the villages, people rely on crops such as maize to earn a livelihood. When the pandemic broke out, many people were stuck because no one was coming to buy maize. It is only people with coffee that kept earning during this period. This made people realise the value of growing coffee,” Fr. Kyambadde added.
This partly explains why the demand for coffee seedlings in the diocese shot up. He thanked UCDA for supplying the Diocese with 40,500 seedlings which will cover 90 acres. He says the Church has more land and looks forward to more support from UCDA. Their goal is to grow coffee on 455 acres of church land.
In February 2021, Fr. Simon Peter Kyambadde and Fr. Emmanuel Tamale, a Chancellor of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese paid Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Managing Director, a courtesy call at
the UCDA headquarters. Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye gave them copies of the Robusta Coffee Handbook and shared
tips on good agronomical practices to ensure maximum benefits from the coffee-growing project. He also explained the gross margin analysis of Robusta coffee on a hectare of land.
On average, one hectare of a good cared-for Robusta coffee garden in its second year of harvest will earn the farmer a gross income of 1,560,000 shillings and this will rise to 11,766,000 in the third year and 16,499,700 shillings in the fourth year.
To earn this, the farmer needs to adopt good agricultural practices, apply the recommended amount of fertiliser and carry out proper canopy, pest, and disease management.
Church role in getting people out of poverty
In the districts of Ntungamo, Mbarara and Ibanda in south-western Uganda, UCDA gave the Anglican Church 72,500 plantlets to establish coffee plantations. While speaking at the launch of the coffee-growing project in Ankole Diocese, Rt. Rev Dr. Sheldon Mwesigwa called on the Church to do more to support its people to engage in productive activities to get out of poverty.
He noted that if people continue to languish in poverty, spiritual growth cannot be achieved.
According to Mwesigwa, the Church has a big role to play in supporting its people to get out of poverty.
The 72,500 coffee seedlings allocated by UCDA will cover 166 acres in South Ankole Diocese, Ankole Diocese and North-West Ankole Diocese.
With the majority of communities in Uganda engaged in farming, the Church is fronting coffee farming as one of its initiatives to transform communities and households.
Other dioceses that benefited from the programme are Masaka Diocese, in Greater Masaka, Diocese of Rwenzori, Fort Portal Diocese and our Lady of Help Kkonge Catholic parish.