Producers here generally grow coffee on 1 hectare or less of land and grown beans and potatoes for consumption or to sell at local markets. Coffee, however, is a main cash crop here, with harvests occurring year-round. Yet, the rugged terrain makes it difficult for producers to deliver cherry to the town centre. In some cases, producers will pick unripe cherries to increase income and prevent a dangerous journey. This is not ideal for coffee quality, but these occurrences are reducing as producers learn about the benefits of selling ripe cherries to Agri Partners.
During the harvest, each producer will handpick their cherries and deliver to one of the Kyarumba buyers. The cherries are then transported to the Agri Evolve wet mill where they are submerged in water to remove floaters and sorted. The sorted cherries are then placed on raised drying racks to dry in the open sun for roughly two weeks. The cherries are frequently turned to ensure an even drying occurs. The dried cherries are then delivered to the dry mill, hulled, and prepared for export.
For many, Uganda might not the first country that comes to mind when thinking of high-quality Arabica: the country has been traditionally known as a producer of Robusta – in fact, some of the highest quality Robusta available on the market – and is reputed to even be its birthplace. However, in many regions of the country the challenges to quality Arabica production are certainly more a matter of infrastructure, history and knowledge than environment. For instance, the slopes of Mt. Elgon in the eastern reaches of the country (bordering Kenya) and on the slopes of the Mount Rwenzori, known locally as the ‘mountains of the moon’, in the Northwest bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are microclimates and terrains that are ideal for the production of high-quality coffee.