Coffee farmers in Kasese District have got a shot in the arm after receiving 57 modern coffee pulping machines valued at Shillings 2.1 billion. A pulper is designed to remove pulp-the soft flesh from agricultural produce.
The beneficiaries include Bukonzo Organic Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Mt. Rwenzori Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Kanone, and Bunyakalija groups from the Mbunga sub-county. The Ugandan government donated the machines through the Agro-Industrialization for Local Economic Development-AGRI-LED program under the National Agricultural Advisory Services-NAADS.
Josinta Kabugho, the general manager for Bukonzo Organic Farmers Cooperative Union, says that the new machines are expected to bring down the cost of production by about 30 percent as it requires less labor to operate and gives out more output per hour compared to the old models they have been using.
His counterpart, Juvenile Kule Rwantangale of Mt. Rwenzori Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union hailed the donation as upbeat because the machines will help improve the coffee grade and earn farmers more income.
Kasese District Principal Production Officer, Julius Baluku, says that the donation was part of the major agriculture production support pledges made to the district in 2019 by Gen. Saleh Saleh, the chief coordinator of OWC. He says that the district hopes to revitalize the coffee sector, which has been on the decline over the years due to dwindling prices resulting from the poor quality of coffee resulting from the use of rudimentary technologies.
Hadad S. Ssebunza, the Technical Sales Manager at Musa Body Machinery Uganda Limited, the company contracted to supply the equipment, said that the machines can rate coffee berries better than the ones they had before and only a few people will be required to operate it cutting down on operational costs.
Ssebunza asked the group members to safeguard the machines and seek timely technical advice in case of any breakdown.
The Deputy RDC, Joshua Masereka Kisembo, who delivered the machines to the beneficiaries on behalf of the government explained that the government and its development partners aim to improve the quality of coffee and enable the farmer to fetch good prices.