Mar 28, 2017 Last Updated 9:05 AM, Mar 28, 2017

Starbucks gives boost to Ugandan coffee

ABN – Starbucks’ decision to sell Ugandan coffee as premium single-origin beans is set to boost earnings for Africa’s biggest exporter of the crop.

According to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Ugandan coffee growers could double their prices on the back of demand from the global coffee chain.

Henry Ngabirano, managing director of the industry regulator, told Bloomberg: “It is extremely exciting that Ugandan coffee is occupying Starbucks’ shelves.

“We are going to have more coffee earnings and improve farmers’ incomes.”

Starbucks is marketing the Ugandan coffee beans, grown in the eastern Mount Elgon region, under the name of an important growing area in the region: “Sipi Falls”.

While smaller shops have sold Ugandan coffee as single-origin for years, Starbucks is the first large chain to do so.


Nigeria seeks to halve wheat imports

ABN – The Nigerian government is hopeful that ramping up production of two new strains of wheat will enable the country to halve its wheat imports by 2017.

The two wheat varieties are especially suited to warm climates and were first released to farmers in 2014.

According to the government-funded Lake Chad Research Institute, the strains can be grown using rainwater or irrigation and are capable of producing 3.5-6.5 tonnes per hectare.

Previous strains were limited to maximum outputs per hectare of four tonnes for irrigated farms and 2.5 tonnes for rainwater-reliant farms.

Oluwasina Olabanji, executive director of the research institute, said: “I hope that by 2017m our production will hit 1.5 million tonnes and reduce importation by 50%.

“This is our target and it is achievable. Annual wheat production should grow at 20% from 2017.”


Kenyan biogas plant connected to grid

ABN – A 2.2-megawatt biogas plant in Naivasha operated by Tropical Power Kenya has become the first in Africa to be connected to a national grid.

Over the next few weeks, Tropical Power expects to finalise an agreement to sell the electricity to Kenya’s sole electric utility Kenya Power.

The power will be sold at a rate of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about a quarter of the cost of diesel-fired generation, and heat generated by the plant will be used to heat nearby farms’ greenhouses.

VegPro Group, East Africa’s largest exporter of vegetables to the UK, will provide 50,000 tonnes of plant waste per year to be fed to the plant.

The company will be able to run its own farm in Naivasha and use some of the biogas plant’s residual waste to make organic fertiliser.

Tropical Power built the plant for $7.5 million using anaerobic digesters supplied by General Electric.

The developer plans to build a 10-megawatt solar farm near the biogas facility that will also generate electricity for the national grid.


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