Focus on specialty coffee is on the rise in Uganda thanks in large part to export operations like Kawacom, which has invested in a state-of-the-art mill near the town of Paidha in the Zombo district. This coffee growing region begins west of Lake Albert’s northern tip, one of the African Great Lakes and the source of the Albert Nile. The bulk of production comes from small family owned farms where coffee is cultivated on just a few acres of land intercropped with bananas, maize, potatoes and nuts. Kawacom has helped producers improve their harvesting strategies, emphasizing the quality premiums associated with only picking cherries that have properly ripened. Access to a modern washing station gives producers the option to deliver cherries rather than bear the expense and risk of processing themselves. At the washing station, cherries are carefully hand sorted and floated to remove less dense coffee beans. Next the cherries are dried on raised beds for 15 to 20 days and turned regularly to ensure uniform drying. Raised beds are carefully constructed to provide proper air circulation and temperature control, for optimal drying. Kawacom has also helped train producers on best organic practices, which includes using materials like coffee pulp to make organic fertilizers creating an abundant source of plant nutrition that ensures better yields and quality.