New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda to Improve Coffee Quality

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has put in place strategies of improving the quality of coffee processed.

The quality and regulatory manager, Edmund Kananura said the authority is concerned that Uganda was the second leading producer of coffee in Africa and ranked 10th overall in the World but about 98% of its coffee is exported.

He said the low local consumption of the beverage could be due to a negative perception Ugandans have towards coffee, which he said emanate from misleading information passed on to consumers claiming healthy related risks amongst consumers.

Kananura told journalists at a coffee gala at the Forest Mall yard in Lugogo that UCDA had embarked on sensitizing local consumers about the healthy benefits of taking coffee and explaining the myths attached to coffee as a beverage.

At the gala, people were served with free roasted coffee that was ground at the site and staff educated consumers on the best brands and varieties and how to prepare a good cup of coffee. The gala's theme, 'Drinking Coffee is healthy', aims at persuading and convincing people to take coffee more regularly.

Brands at the gala included Elgon Pride, Savannah Express, Bugisu Gold, White Mountain, Star Café and Star Coffee and others that sell packed roasted coffee beans and powder.

Other strategies include training roasters and brewers of coffee like students who can be employed in local cafés. Workers in processing industries are also targeted so that they can improve on the quality of the product processed.

Improving local consumption also helps give employment to people who work in the local industries and saves the money the country loses when it exports unprocessed coffee.

In Brazil that produces 50million bags of coffee annually for example, natives consume 50% of the product unlike in Uganda where many grow it mainly as a cash crop for foreign consumers.

The authority has also come up with measures to eliminate substandard brands from the local market, which discourage local consumers.

These include companies that had been processing poor grades of coffee and others that turn husks into powder and sell to unsuspecting consumers.

"It is important to train brewers and roasters in cafés and supermarkets who are able to prepare the beverage up to the recommended standard and those who can identify quality brands good for consumers," Kananura explained.

At least one should take two to three cups of coffee a day to improve on his health like boosting brain cells to reduce memory loss, reducing heart and cancer risks.

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