Coffee is the chief exchange earner crop of Uganda but Kenya is the biggest producer in East Africa. There are two types of coffee;
Arabica coffee is mainly grown on the slopes of mountain Elgon, Rukungiri, Kabarole, Kabale, Aberdare ranges, Mt. Kenya, Kilimanjaro slopes, Mt. Usambara, and Mt. Meru near Arusha and Moshi.
Robusta coffee mainly grown along the Lake Victoria basin covering districts like Mukono, Mityana, Masaka, and Rakai in Uganda. It’s also grown in Bushenyi, Nebbi, Kapchorwa, Masindi, Hoima, Busia, and Fort Portal. In Tanzania, it’s grown around Bukoba and in the southern highlands.
The following are conditions for the growth of coffee
- Fertile and well-drained soils i.e. alluvial for Robusta and Volcanic for Arabica for growing the crop.
- High altitude of about 1500 to 2300 m for Arabica and low altitude of about 1000-1500 m for robusta.
- Generally, average/moderate temps not exceeding 250C for proper maturity of coffee.
- Heavy rainfall between 1000 mm to 1500 mm of rainfall needed during the planting season.
- Protection from strong winds by practising agroforestry.
- Alternate spraying to control pests and diseases e.g. the coffee berry.
- Cheap and abundant labour needed especially during the harvesting season.
- Adequate capital needed for buying fertilizers, pesticides, and farm implements.
- Very hot temperatures of about 270C for drying of the coffee.
- High humidity ensures a heavy rainfall total for proper growth.
- Presence of extensive and gently sloping land for the growing of the crop.
- Availability of ready market both local and international.