At least 45 coffee farmers from across the country have received training on how to market and export their products.
The Agribusiness Development Center (ADC) with support from the Rabobank Foundation and DFCU bank targeted mainly farmers who are also leaders of cooperatives on how to handle coffee fit for export, how to negotiate a contacts, and skills on how to get information for better prices.
Katia Mugenzi, ADC marketing and information manager said coffee farming has got very many risks but the biggest of all is pricing. Therefore, she said, there is need to train them in order to reduce the risk that majorly emanates from lack of information.
"The training was about price risk management, because many a time our farmers are cheated by middlemen; it is them who have information about the market. This is because most of the time coffee prices are determined elsewhere," Mugenzi said.
She said their emphasis is on coffee exportation because there are other organizations that are already focused on production.
"It doesn't make sense if farmers produce their coffee and they are unable to benefit from its sale. Therefore as ADC we are helping farmers especially those working under a cooperative to get pre-finances that is vital in exportation," Mugenzi said.
She added that she was also very excited that young people are beginning to take agriculture seriously. "It is very encouraging that we are now seeing youths getting involved in agriculture. This shows that the sector will register tremendous development," Mugenzi said.
Anja de Fijter, the head of ADC said there is an increase in coffee exports. She said currently Uganda exports almost five million coffee bags. "There is no doubt people continue to embrace coffee growing; the sector has a bright future," de Fijter said. According to some of the trainees, the two day training couldn't have come at a better time.
"I now know about contracts, all the terms involved in exporting. I don't think buyers will be able to manipulate me again," Ronald Odia, a farmer from Zombo said. For Matovu Richard a farmer from Mbale, the training helped him to equip him with knowledge to make better decisions.
"I have learnt how to negotiate for better prices not to take whatever the buyer offers after all it's my coffee," Matovu said. For Mary Nalukwata a farmer from Masaka, such training helps them to be competitive.
"We sell in the same markets with people from developed countries who are well conversant with the market dynamics yet for us we don't even know what the markets want. Therefore this training was really beneficial to us," Nalukwata said urging ADC to organize such training even at production level.