Area: 236, 860 square kilometres
Language: Swahili, English
Currency: Ugandan Shilling
Annual Production: Approximately 181,000 tons
Coffee Producing Areas: 350,000 hectares
Producing Regions: Arabica: highland areas on the slopes of Mount Elgon in the East and Mt. Rwenzori / Mt. Muhabura in the South Western Region
Coffee Varietals: Arabica: Typica, Kent, Tuzzi [Catimor]. Robusta: Locally cloned plants from government owned nurseries. Uganda has its own indigenous Robusta from the Kibale Forest
Terrain: Mountainous with high, central plateau
Altitude: Arabica : 1500 – 2300 MASL. Robusta: Up to 1200 MASL
Soil: Rich, volcanic
Harvest: Arabica: October – January. Robusta: All year – Peak November – February
It’s extremely difficult to track down when coffee was grown in Uganda but it can be assumed when the British formed the protectorate of Uganda in 1824, they were the ones to introduce coffee growing. Uganda’s coffee industry was mirrored by the country’s political upheavals from the 70’s to 90’s. During this period, farmers had to deal collapsing coffee prices, drought and various insurgency’s. As the countries politics stabilised, so did the coffee industry and in 1991 a government decree allowed the liberalisation of the industry. Today, for every Arabica plant there are 4 Robusta’s, Uganda is Africa largest producer of Robusta. The vast majority of Ugandan coffee is grown on smallholder farms; ‘shambas’ with over 3.5 million Ugandans involved in the coffee industry. Coffee accounts for 20 – 30% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Uganda continues to fight two coffee diseases, Coffee Wilt Disease [CWD] and Coffee berry Disease.[CBD] Hybrid developments have produced the Tuzzi, a Catimor that has proved CBD resistant at lower growing altitudes. The Coffee Development Board has also implemented an ongoing farmer education program aimed at practices that can minimise both CWD and CBD.