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Uganda's lucrative coffee threatened by climate change

NSANGI, Uganda (AFP) - The temperature is rising a little too quickly in Uganda -- and coffee farmers are getting worried. Growers say that global warming is damaging production of coffee, Uganda's biggest export.
Image:
Ugandan people work on harvested coffee, at Barjobi village Lira district. The temperature is rising a little too quickly in Uganda -- and coffee farmers are getting worried. Growers say that global warming is damaging production of coffee, Uganda's biggest export. (AFP/File/Peter Busomoke)

Ask coffee farmer Emmanuel Kawesi, who has a "feeling" about the impending danger. "It's hotter now -- this is not usual," he says standing under a wide mango tree to escape the intense sun.

"Global warming will be very dangerous for my coffee," says the 33-year-old, explaining that more sunshine and less rain means coffee beans will shrivel and yields will decrease.

Today, coffee brings in over half of Uganda's revenue. A report released by Uganda's Department of Meteorology late last year, however, warned that just a slight increase in temperature could wipe out most of the country's coffee crop.

"Everyone is talking about global warming; coffee is our business," says Mariam Sekisanda, 27, as she pauses from picking ripe coffee beans on her expansive farm to sit under the shade of a thicket of lush banana trees.

Gesturing to nearby farms along an orange-dusted road flanked by dense greenery and steep hills, Sekisanda says her neighbours are flummoxed by the fluctuating weather.

"Climate change has affected coffee production already," says Philip Gitao, director of the Eastern Africa Fine Coffees Association.

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