Coffee: This 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 is 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.
PROBLEMS FACING COFFEE PRODUCTION IN EAST AFRICA
- Pests which destroy large parts of farms leading to losses e.g. termites.
- Diseases which lead to poor quality output such as coffee wilt disease and coffee berry disease.
- Limited land for coffee plantations due to ever increasing population.
- Soil exhaustion due to monoculture leading to low and poor quality yields.
- Competition with other coffee producing countries like Brazil and Ivory Coast leading to inadequate market.
- Low prices and unstable coffee prices leading to price fluctuation on the world market which demoralizes the farmers.
- Prolonged drought and hailstorms which destroy coffee flowers leading to low output.
- Competition with other beverages e.g. tea, cocoa and vanilla which reduces demand.
- Dangerous animals e.g. snakes, wasps and bees which attack the workers hence scaring them away.
- Inadequate storage facilities which leads to losses due to rotting of the coffee and destruction by pests.
- Coffee has a long gestation period of about 31/2 years until the first harvest which also demoralizes the farmers.
- Shortage of extension workers to train people on how to attend to coffee properly.
- Post-harvest losses also demoralize the farmers e.g. theft which leads to losses for the farmers.
- Poor means of transport leading to market centers leading to delays in delivery.