Welcome to my Profile Page

Early Life:

I, rose in the hands of my maternal grandmother, Ms. Deborah Nabatanzi, having been handed to her by my parents at the age of one. I would be fortunate to grow up on the coffee farm, a relatively cottage smallholder, about 150 – 400 tree plot of Robusta species in central Uganda.

At the age of 4, I introduced myself to coffee. I got around to the coffee flower, smelled the pollen, teased the bees and they stung me. I licked the sugary mucilage in the cherry pulp. I also desired to harvest coffee cherries with my grandmother, but she never accepted.

It provoked me, and I would later go on in the shamba without her know. In the shamba, I would do alot of activities, stripped some cherries, swung on the coffee stems, and broke some. She accused me and beat me a little bit. She would refuse me to go back, I couldn’t agree.

In later years I contributed to family labor during harvest seasons. My grandmother would reward me 30 pounds of dry cherry for the labour I gave. She would sell it and hand me the proceeds which I would use for pocket money in the boarding school I went.

Today I see the loss I caused to her little Robusta enterprise, although, not in vain. I wish she could acknowledge my tribute I always extend to her, because of two main reasons;

  1. For her being a part of the 20th century global coffee sustainability nexus.
  2. The irrefutable theses for which I founded the Africa Coffee Bureau (ACB) in Washington, DC.

She is such a notable person in my awareness of what coffee is, the political economy around it and it’s significance to AFRICA. I would always be grateful to her.

Intellectual awareness:

Resident in Washington D.C with ACB satellite linkages in Hawai’i, Los Angeles, and NYC.
I possess a Biomedical Laboratory Technology Degree (Hons), of Makerere University, Uganda.

Special project:              Peroxidase Activity as a biochemical marker for resistance to coffee wilt disease in C. canephora in Uganda.

Proceedings of ASIC Conferences:

Nakendo, S*., Lubega, G. W., Kangire, A and P. C. Musoli. (2008). Peroxidase Activity as a biochemical marker for resistance to coffee wilt disease in C. canephora. 22nd International Scientific Colloquium on Coffee, Campinas, SP-Brazil.

Training in coffee chemistry (nirs, chromatography and soxtec 8000):

Predicting coffee varieties with superior cup quality using flavor and aroma chemical precursors. Funded by USDA/Cirad Project on Robusta quality markers in East Africa (2008) and attained at the French Center for International Research on Agricultural Development (cirad) Montpellier, France.

  • The French training empowered me to assemble opinions and literature to initiate biochemical profiling of flavor and aroma precursors for breeders use in predicting superior bean and cup quality coffees.
  • Profiled 68 Uganda Robusta germplasm collections for flavor and aroma quality precursors, data necessary for breeders’ choice in varietal improvement.
  • Determined the NIRS-Spectra specific to Uganda Robustas; information vital in distinguishing them from elsewhere.

MSc. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. (2009): Admitted to postgraduate at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University. The training was never completed, funding sources project priorities altered.

MSc. in Biochemistry. (2012): Admitted to postgraduate at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University. Theses proposal title: Sucrose synthase activity as a biochemical marker for sucrose accumulation and bean filling in vascular wilt resistant Robusta variants in Uganda. The course work was completed with some funding from UCDA research support to NaCORI/NARO. The MSc. research component lacked funding, the undertakings required a big budget, and some of the specific objectives in the study detail were to be completed at Cirad in Montpellier, France.

Important note: Biomarker profiling is crucial in mass screening and prediction for superior cup quality in coffee varietal development and improvement program; especially for Africa’s Robusta competitiveness at the international trade arena.

Plans to finish this work is alive under the ACB CoFET-Retreat program (inter-institutional collaborative research cooperation between Africa and Hawai’i). The theses development will continue at Makerere if the time and graduate school guidelines permit.

Routinely worked at the National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI), contributed to search for resistance sources against vascular wilt caused by a fungus of genus Fusarium and species xylariodes in Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee) in Uganda. Predicted genotypes Q/3/4 and J/1/1 as prospective resistant variants to F. xylariodes using peroxidase activity biomarkers. The 2 individuals constituted part of the 6-coffee wilt disease resistant (cwd-r) varieties released for farmer use in the national replanting program. Contributed to the traceability of superior bean and cup quality varieties of C. canephora and C. arabica and evaluated for best-bet postharvest handling technologies for farmer use in Uganda.

Contributed to the Uganda coffee quality mapping funded by USAID-LEAD/IITA Uganda.

Proceedings of ASIC Conferences:

Jassogne, L., Mukasa, D., Nakendo, S., Nansamba, R., Kangire, A and P. Van Asten. (2012). Mapping and characterizing coffee quality in Uganda. Paper presented and published to the 24th International Scientific Colloquium on Coffee, Turrialba, Costa Rica.

Contributed to CAFNET Project which involved 7 countries in East Africa, Latin America, and India. The objective I helped in on the Institute’s bigger contribution was assessing the influence of tree shade intensity (Intense, medium, and light) vs. open-sun coffees on yields, insect bean infestation incidence, physical bean, and cup quality traits. Resulting foundation data and reports made up to the cumulative global CAFNET reports, publications, and policy implementation to-date. 

Prior to coffee research, I interned at the department of parasitology and microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere; on immunological studies investigating the role of trypanosome-skeletal muscle derived tubulin protein, on inhibiting trypanosome activity in bovine (Host defense).

Promoting African coffees in the United States:

Numerous African coffees with remarkable intrinsic bean and cup qualities remain unknown to industrial consumer markets, United States retail inclusive. These coffees are from micro-producers who bulk together as least as 15lbs to consolidate the much-needed global demand volumes usually ranging between 153 – 167 million 60kg bags per annum. For Africa, majority of these farms are women led, ranging in 150 – 400 coffee tree plot-farms. Depend on coffee for social security, implying they harvest, store, and only sell to obtain food, medical care, and child education. But often lack reliable and incentive rewarding niche markets. Available market options pay only 70Cts/$/lb. of green bean which translates into $60 for roaster’s whole bean on the shelves of major retail stores such as Walmart or Costco or, $240 from serving espressos and cappuccinos in retail structures such as Starbucks in industrial consumer nations. This is illogical, and although not to blame retail giants.

Farmers are desperate, some are abandoning or cutting down their coffee shambas. This should worry everyone. It’s detrimental; food insecurity among smallholder growers, aiding climate change ruin escalation, and probable collapse of the coffee retail businesses both in producer and industrial nations among others. There must be something done urgently.

The lack of promotional vigor by African farmer co-operative leaders to trigger attractive responsiveness for their coffees from industrial consumer market players comparative to trade efforts among Latina growers like Colombia and Brazil, is one of the key reasons for the founding of Africa Coffee Bureau (ACB). ACB positioning in Washington, DC; places it well for a long uninterrupted routine cup profiling vigor, a necessary step in the traceability efforts for creation of novel niche markets enfranchised with premium incentive rewards, Africa badly needs for proportional compensation for her smallholder farmer coffee collections. ACB undertakes promotion, niche market traceability, trade negotiations, and market linkages between farmers and roasters; to see more African coffee volumes get to the United States market for a price that means most.

The United States retail structure is a boom, so lucrative, so enfranchising and estimated to a hefty US$88Bn. I am privileged to be leading the smallholder 150 – 400 tree plot-farm micro-lot coffees, predominantly women owned through the US$48Bn, US$26Bn and US$14Bn; Roasting, Coffeehouse retail and At-home brewing segment (SCA report 2018: US Coffee Market Overview), respectively, for promotion and niche market traceability. I believe, ACB formulation in this market is logical and appropriate.

I am thrilled to share my vision for AFRICA.


Saleh Nakendo

Embark on that Journey to Quality Coffee