How Museveni down got to smelling Tugume's coffee

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How Museveni down got to smelling Tugume's coffee
President Museveni inspects some of the coffee value addition production line at the hub

A coffee and social entrepreneur as he prefers to refer to himself, Nelson Tugume is the chief executive of Inspire Africa coffee hub located on Kabuhungu Hill, Rwashamire Town Council in Ntungamo District.

In his early 40s, Tugume has earned himself a name in Uganda’s coffee value chain with his huge investment worth Shs7 billion that he says is at 68 percent completion.

“I chose coffee six years ago after realising that coffee had a lot of value out there yet my people were earning so little from their coffee including my relatives and friends," he told Nile Post.

"That triggered me to do a lot of research to begin my investment into coffee.”

He adds that a lot of questions lingered in his mind why Africans - and Uganda in particular - earned less and the answer was adding value to Uganda’s coffee to earn bigger.

"We needed to add value to our coffee roasting from the source, getting by-products from our source and being a son and grandson to a coffee farmer, the dream stems from changing the life of that coffee farmer," Tugume said.

Without mentioning his source of funding, Tugume notes that the vision and ambition attracts funding as long as you have innovative ideas.

"As long as you have the vision and ambition to start, the funding will always find its way and that has been my way of doing things," he says.

"I rarely start my projects without money being available, its somehow spiritual especially for innovation that transforms lives of people. God will touch someone to bring in the funding."

Tugume's Rwashamiire coffee factory has attracted the President twice in less than two years, first in December 2022 when Mr Museveni commissioned the Inspire Africa Coffee factory and then last week.

Does this imply Tugume has won the President's trust in the coffee value addition chain?

While officiating at the Africa Renaissance Coffee Chapter One launch last week, Mr Museveni lashed at "enemies of progress" in the coffee value chain, saying they should support people like Tugume with good ideas and innovations.

"Stop fighting local investors like Tugume with good ideas work with them and support them to benefit from coffee," a tough talking Museveni said. "You don't know whom you are fighting."

Tugume told Nile Post that he is at war to ensure the country earns $5 billion from coffee annually up from the current $1 billion but there are still enemies of coffee value addition.

“If those fighting us no longer have interest, you don’t mind about them because I don’t revenge," he says.

"The Bible tells us to leave vengeance for Him."

Tugume was recently accused of failing to provide accountability for Shs37 billion that was disbursed to the Coffee Investment Consortium Uganda (CICU) for coffee value chain investment.

He says that when you are in a playground, you have two teams and the other team will make sure you don't go on but you will keep focused on the ball to achieve the goal.

"I know the challenges are there, the battles are there, and allegations too but I know they are not true and the people will know the truth so I don'tneed to say much, the work will speak for itself," he says.

On how the local farmer will benefit from the coffee factory, Tugume said the more more money from our coffee value addition agenda, the more money the farmer gets.

"Since we started the coffee value addition campaign coffee prices have shoot from Shs8,000 to Shs13,000 a kilo," he said.

Coffee farmers have been blamed for selling coffee at flowering stage giving chance to middlemen to exploit them, Tugume says that the coffee hub will work closely with farmers to create avenues that don't allow selling of flowering coffee.

"Our idea and arrangement is that we don't allow farmers to sell flowers we want to ensure that if farmers can at least be given a small loan that will facilitate the needs that force them sell coffee at flowering stage and wait for their coffee grow for quality purposes and better prices to achieve the productivity, processing and profitability strategy," Tugume shared.

Currently, more than five coffee products are being produced at the coffee industrial hub, including hand creams, cosmetics, coffee yogurt, cookies, and other lots of coffee byproducts other than just a beverage.

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