Since January 2018 when Seeds of Gold ran the story about a different way of spacing Robusta coffee trees on a farm in Buzaami Village, Buwama Sub-county, Mpigi District, hundreds of farmers have visited the farm.
The visiting farmers want to learn how to try out the Robusta Coffee tree spacing innovation that is believed to be a potentially game-changing approach to coffee production in Uganda.
“We have 1,333 Robusta coffee trees growing on one acre here which the people visiting us are seeing as quite new,” says Pascal Kakooza the farm manager. “We planted the coffee trees three feet from one another in rows 10 feet apart. That’s how we ended up with so many coffee trees on an acre. Traditionally the coffee trees are supposed to be 10 feet by 10 feet and only about 450 trees can be planted on an acre. Most of the visitors coming here seek to find out what we actually do to keep the young coffee trees growing so vigorously,” Kakooza adds.
Joseva Farm belongs to Joseph Nkandu and his wife Eva both of whom also own a coffee plantation of more than 20 acres about two miles from Buzaami Village.
Nkandu is the executive director of National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) and the new coffee tree spacing arrangement is an idea he got following his visit a few years ago to Brazil which is a coffee growing giant.
“As a country we have a coffee strategy whose target is to produce 12 million bags of coffee annually by 2040 and to generate annual export revenues of $ 2.5 billion, yet no different approach had been devised apart from asking people to grow more coffee. We must do things differently to achieve such high yields,” said Nkandu.