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Uganda Coffee industry to benefit from online marketing

Wednesday, 6th April, 2011

EFFORTS are underway to help Uganda’s coffee industry players integrate modern information communication systems to widen their scope of marketing.

Local coffee producers and traders now have the opportunity of marketing their fine coffee online using the new Q system web portal developed by the London based Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

The dynamic, engaging and customisable portal allows users to showcase their coffee samples and connect with potential buyers around the globe.

According to Teddy Lingle, a coffee quality expert from CQI, the samples are evaluated and professionally accredited by cuppers in the country of origin against international standards before they accepted to be displayed on the web portal.

Coffees that meet various standards for green, roasted and cup quality are certified and licensed to feature on the web facility.

The web fosters global linkages between buyers and sellers, helps them becoming part of the global marketplace which enhances economic viability for general development of the industry. Uganda is among the few countries in Africa accredited to benefit from the portal.

Benefiting from the system, one registers as a user and creates a personal profile. The user submits coffee samples to certified R graders and CQI collaborating partner for evaluation and once samples are certified.

The user gets a new profile on the market linkage paper where more information including photos about the coffee can be added which eventually enables communication among dealers.

With the need to guarantee quality of locally produced coffee, over sixteen people have undergone training and graduated in Robusta coffee professional grading (R-Graders) and cupping, this brings the number of local certified graders to 24 in total.

The training that involved theoretical and practical sessions were held in Uganda Manufacturers Association show ground and the graduation ceremony was organized at Serena Hotel.

The move is supported by USAID’s Livelihoods and Enterprises for Agricultural Development (LEAD), QCI and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority.

According to the USAID/LEAD Chief of party Susan Corning, her body was intensifying efforts to ensure that quality is observed at every point in the production chain.

“Because of the need to ensure quality in agriculture, LEAD has been supporting especially smallholder farmers not only to increase volumes of their produce but also observe quality in the production process,” she told guests at the graduation ceremony.

She said that apart from the need to increase harvest volumes, quality compliance is another strong marketing tool through which Uganda can attain more economic benefits from farming.

By the end of last year, LEAD had supported 11,552 producer organisations, Through the project the 247,272 households have seen an average increased income of 36%.

The project has provided over 498,000 farmers with agricultural sector productivity training and considers 247,272 households (some of which include more than one farmer) to be project beneficiaries.

Over the two years of operation, LEAD-supported farmers have produced 703,519 tons of targeted agricultural commodities valued at $144m.

By David Ssempijja: The New Vision Newspaper

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