By B4FA Fellow Henry Lutaaya
In September last year, Godfrey Ssekankya, a prominent coffee farmer from Miseebe, Bulera sub-county Mityana District, had high hopes of getting a good yield from his coffee farm come round this harvest season starting April. The sense of optimism arose from the heavy flowering he witnessed, coupled with good rains that ensured the flowers would bear fruits.
But when I met him last week, Ssekankya was distraught. All his hopes had evaporated because of the short but intense December to February dry spell that befell most parts of central Uganda.
As coffee farmers will tell you, prolonged lack of moisture prevents the coffee fruits from forming beans, the stuff that is processed and then roasted to make the aromatic beverage.
In areas such as Bukomero in Kiboga District, this year’s dry spell has been particularly devastating to the extent that coffee trees dried up. And the loss of a single coffee tree, especially for smallholder farmers, can be heart-breaking, considering that it takes more than three years and a lot of hard work and money to raise it up to the time it starts to yield. Read more