Factors influencing small-scale coffee productivity in Mpeefu subcounty, Kagadi district
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Coffee Is one of the plantation commodities that has an important role in the national economy, especially as an employment provider, a source of farmer’s income and a source of foreign exchange.This research study aims to provide valuable insights into small-scale coffee farming practices with the objective of optimizing individual farmer characteristics. The study focuses on comparing agronomic practices, post-harvesting techniques, and market experiences between Arabica and Robusta coffee farmers.To address these objectives, a mixed-methods approach was employed, combining qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Surveys, interviews, and observations were conducted to gather comprehensive data from small-scale Arabica and Robusta coffee farmers. The gathered data was analyzed using descriptive statistical analysis and thematic analysis to identify patterns and themes that emerged from the data.The characteristics of farmers involved in coffee growing were found to be diverse, with motivations ranging from economic benefits to cultural heritage. Regarding agronomic practices, variations were observed based on the different coffee varieties. Arabica farmers emphasized shade-grown cultivation and meticulous pest control while Robusta farmers focused on higher sun exposure and more efficient pest management strategies. Post harvest practices also differed, with Arabica farmers employing longer fermentation periods and strict quality control measures, whereas Robusta farmers used shorter fermentation periods and less stringent quality control. In terms of market and marketing experiences, Arabica farmers reported selling their produce at higher prices due to its specialty status in the market and their participation in direct trade relationships, while Robusta farmers faced lower prices due to the commoditynature of their coffee and limited marketing opportunities.This comparative study highlighted the importance of understanding individual farmer characteristics when choosing a suitable coffee growing enterprise. It demonstrated that different coffee varieties require specific agronomic practices and post-harvest techniques to optimize yield and quality. Furthermore, marketing strategies should be tailored to the unique attributes and market demands of each coffee variety. The findings of this research provide valuable insights for small-scale coffee farmers, enabling them to make informed decisions and improve their coffeefarming enterprises.