Uganda’s New Vision newspaper reports that Urth Caffe, a popular Los Angeles establishment has pledged a $500,000 investment in the country’s coffee industry; a bold move.

U.S. Coffee Investor to Sink $500,000 in Kisoro (um, sink?)

URTH Café, one of the leading coffee shops in the US, is to boost organic coffee production in Kisoro district with a $500,000 (about sh875m) investment.

The pilot project with Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) would see the investor buying coffee directly from farmers.

Shallom Berkman, the Urth Café proprietor, explained after a four-day guided tour that the programme would be handled by Mount Gorilla Coffee Estate Company, which is already working in the region.

Berkman, who has been piloting the programme for the last four years with selected farmers, informed the growers that the roll-out programme, aimed at benefiting more farmers targeted only those that produce high quality organic coffee.

“Farmers who pick red cherries have an assurance that their coffee would fetch them big premiums as opposed to those who pick green cherries,” said Berkman.

He said farmers who apply better farming practices would be rewarded with a 20% price increment per kilogramme. Currently, a kilo of good organic coffee sells for S$5 (about sh8,400).

He said a training and business centre would be set up in the area.

Henry Ngabirano, the head of UCDA, appealed to farmers to embrace the programme.

He told those with old coffee trees to stump and prune them for better yields.

The farmers, however, said low yields and lack of organic experts, deterred them from organic farming.