A big coffee farmer in Tanzania, David Robinson has said Ugandan
coffee dealers have a great opportunity to penetrate the international sales
chain of through electronic commerce and the internet.
The 67-year old Robinson, who is son to Jackie Robinson, the first African American
baseball player who broke barriers of racism to emerge as a successful player,
rights activist among others says Uganda coffee growers and dealers have the responsibility to promote their business
and organize themselves.
In an Interview with URN, at the backdrop of a meeting between
Ugandan coffee farmers at the American Centre, Robinson whose experience in
coffee farming spans 25 years in
Tanzania says coffee roasters abroad create finished products but also want to
relate to producers to produce a unique story.
He says that unlike attempts for individuals to succeed on
their own, with globalization and technological development Ugandan coffee
dealers need to ensure they meet the basic standards of growing coffee and
ensuring basic quality.
He says when people know about a specific Ugandan organization
producing coffee from a particular location, it interests them and it doesn’t matter
if one is a small player.
He says the major issue in this is getting partners, and
consistency which ensures one to produce not just as a commodity, but a good
product. Robinson says the only way out for Ugandan coffee farmers is
themselves, even before another entity steps in.
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Ugandan farmers have been experiencing challenges specifically
in finding market for their product, which in some cases in brought about by middle men.
According to Robinson, Ugandans lose control of their coffee
on an early stage due to middle men who pay them little.
this can change only if farmers have a network of maybe farmer’s organization, cooperative,
association or business group among others. He says the farmer should be able
to process coffee on a domestic level.
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The farmers and dealers in coffee, who were present at the
discussion maintained that the local market is full, but they do not know how
to go outside the international market.
Audrey Asasira, of Big Gorilla Coffee says she has been
tipped on getting in touch with roasters abroad who can develop a product to
their benefit. She says the coffee market in Uganda is limited.
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Andrew Eriki, an Agronomist who has dealt in coffee for long
says Ugandan coffee farmers are cheated by middle men. He says the issue of
marketing and exploring individual markets abroad could work for farmers.
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Martha Wandera who is into coffee processing, says the
coffee quality is still lacking.