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Coffee Dealers Tipped on Markets

David Robinson, a renowned coffee farmer has said Ugandan coffee dealers have a great opportunity to penetrate the international sales chain of coffee through electronic commerce and the internet.
David Robinson, coffee farmer and son to first African American baseball player Jackie Robinson

Audio 4

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.

He says 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. 

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