About Uganda

Uganda is a land-locked country in East Africa, bordering Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. The country has seen a tremendous rate of progress and development in the past 30 years. Blessed with an ideal climate, the source of the Nile and the birthplace of Robusta coffee, Uganda’s position astride the Equator and its rich and diverse agricultural heritage offer a perfect environment to produce a full range of quality Arabica and Robusta coffees.

Uganda’s fertile soils and abundant rains produce cherries bursting with flavor and offer a strong cup to enrich blends and enliven consumer palates. As one of Africa’s major producers, Uganda farmers enjoy a competitive internal market, encouraging efficiency and quality throughout their supply chain.

This is a geographically and scenically diverse country, dubbed by Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa”. It straddles the equator and boasts mist-shrouded volcanic mountains, glacier-capped peaks, simmering hot springs, semi-arid desert, and rolling fertile hills. There are over 500 forest reserves and a number of national parks and game reserves in the country, providing a safe habitat for this country’s array of unique wildlife. Recognized for its wide range of primates (chimpanzees, numerous monkeys, and the rare mountain gorilla) and its impressive bird list which tops more than 1,000 species, Uganda is also fast becoming a popular eco-tourism destination for the naturalist and wildlife enthusiast.

Uganda has a long tradition of coffee production – dating back more than 100 years – and is now ranked 2nd in Africa and 8th in global coffee production. It is the leading exporter of organic coffee in Africa. It is widely accepted that while Ethiopia is the original source of Arabica coffee, Uganda is the source of Robusta.

Centuries ago, Ugandan warriors would chew the bean or cherry before going into battle. This would make them feel strong, brave, and invincible. The variety of wild Robusta coffees still growing in Uganda’s rainforests are thought to be some of the rarest examples of naturally occurring coffee trees anywhere in the world.

Coffee has been the largest single foreign exchange earner for the country since the 1970s and is based entirely on small-scale production. Robusta coffee accounts for 85% of the output, while Arabica coffee accounts for the remaining 15%. There are 117 Districts, 17 Robusta only, 83 Arabica only, and 17 districts that grow both Robusta and Arabica coffee. Over 1.8 million households grow coffee in Uganda which is about 25% of the entire country’s population dependent on coffee for their livelihood. Other exports from Uganda include cotton, fish, tea, tobacco, maize, beans, and sesame.

Uganda Coffee

Courtesy of Uganda Coffee Development Authority

Type of coffee: Arabica, Robusta, Roasted
Volume (2014/15 In thousand 60kg bags): 3,455
Growing areas: Bugisu (Mt. Elgon), Lake Victoria basin, Western Uganda, West Nile
Marketing system: Direct sale
Processing: Wet and dry processing
Harvest season: October – February: Main crop
August: Fly crop
Port of shipment: Mombasa, Dar-es-Salaam
Export destinations: European countries

Did you know…?

Good Ugandan coffees are of intense character and are unique among East African coffees. Robusta coffee, which is traditionally dry processed, has a reputation of yielding above average quality. Arabica coffee is of medium quality, and is usually classified under “Columbian milds”. Mild & Hard Arabica. Full bodied with sparkling acidity, sweet distinctive characteristics.

AFCA Chapter


Managing Director,
Mountain Harvest, Uganda
Email: kbarigye@mountainharvest.com