Saleh Nakendo

Early life

I grew up on a coffee farm in Uganda. At age of 4, I would start getting around the coffee flower, teasing the bees and licking the sugary stuff in the cherry pulp. I also desired to harvest cherry alongside my grandmother, Deborah Nabatanzi but, she never allowed. She insisted, I was young. I would go in the shamba on my own later on, and picked the cherry. She couldn’t have it, so upset and, accused me for stripping her cherries and swinging on the coffee stems. So, she would convict me. In time! I got it, would do a good job and, in my mid-primary I contributed to the family labor in the subsequent harvest seasons. Deborah would reward me 30 pounds of dry cherry in every harvest season for the labour I gave. She would sell and proceeds catered for my stipend “pocket money” in the boarding school I went.

My tribute to Deborah for being a wonderful grand “mum” and a friend; of course, my best teacher on coffee

Intellectual awareness:

Resident in Washington DC. Obtained a Biomedical Laboratory Technology Degree –honors of Makerere University and, specialized training in NIRS/Coffee chemistry at CIRAD, Montpellier-France. Postgraduate work/MSc. Biochemistry- underway on coffee bean filling “Sucrose accumulation in the bean of Robusta species in Uganda: A Sucrose synthase Kinetics Perspective” at Makerere.

Worked at the Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI-NARO), Uganda. Contributed on traceability for superior bean and cup quality varieties of C. canephora and C. arabica and, evaluated for best-bet postharvest technologies for farmer use in Uganda. Contributed to search for resistance sources against vascular wilt menace (F. xylariodes) in Coffea canephora species in Uganda. Predicted Q/3/4 and J/1/1 genotypes as prospective resistant variants to F. xylariodes using peroxidase biomarker and, are among the commercialized wilt resistant Robusta varieties.

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

Promoting African coffees in the United States:

Numerous African coffees with remarkable intrinsic bean and cup qualities remain unknown to industrial consumer markets like the United States. These coffees are from micro-producers who bulk together to consolidate the needed global volumes. For Africa, majority of these farms are women led, ranging from 150 – 400 coffee trees. Depend on it for social security, implying they store this coffee and only sell to obtain food, medical and child education. But, often lack reliable and incentive rewarding markets.
Available market options pay only 70 cents of a dollar for a pound of green bean. Quite unrealistic and, the logic behind my influence for founding the Africa Coffee Bureau (ACB).

ACB was founded to see more volumes of African coffees get to the United States market for a price that means most.

The United States coffee economy is a boom, so lucrative and enfranchising, estimated to US$100Bn. I believe, ACB formulation in this market is logical and appropriate. I am targeting the US$48Bn and US$26Bn, roasting segment and coffeehouse retail chains respectively, for promotion and niche market traceability for African farmers’ coffees, enfranchisement.

I am thrilled to share my vision for AFRICA.


Saleh Nakendo