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Beans of the Nile

The national coffee act, 2021

Message from the Managing Director

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has grown exponentially over the years. The role of UCDA is to provide an enabling environment for the millions of stakeholders along the coffee value chain to thrive. We have built long lasting relationships with farmers...

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Ankole Diocese, UCDA partner to promote coffee growing to improve household income and transform communities in western Uganda

Ankole Diocese and Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) launched a partnership to improve household income through coffee growing targeting 46,000 households.

UCDA donated 22,500 coffee wilt disease resistant robusta seedlings to the diocese during the launch of the partnership on March, 9 2021 at Kinoni Archdeaconary in Rwampara district.

The seedlings will cover 50 acres out of the project target of 400 acres and will be planted on church land. The church will also establish demonstration gardens near the churches.

The Bishop of Ankole, Rt Rev Dr. Sheldon Mwesigwa, said supporting farming is part of the diocese’s community and household transformation agenda.

“We owe a big debt and we will be answerable to our God if we let our people continue to suffer in poverty. You can’t claim spiritual growth of a church when your people are languishing in poverty. We serve to grow our communities in spirit and economic growth,” he said.

Mr Sedrach Muhangi, the UCDA Regional Coffee Extension Officer, said they believe the Church can use its structures to improve the quantity and quality of the coffee produced in the region.

“The Church has well laid-structures and commands a big following. We believe it can be a reliable partner to improve coffee production,” Mr Muhangi said.

He said from the 22,500 seedlings, after maturity, the diocese can earn about Shs27 million in a season as each coffee plant can yield up to three kilogrammes of kase or Fair Average Quality (FAQ) coffee a season, which translates into 67,500kgs.

Mr Simon Kwikiriza, the head of household and transformation department at the diocese, said they target to establish a coffee processing factory in the next 10 years to encourage exportation.

The Rwampara Resident District Commissioner, Mr Emmy Kateera, said the project will not only boost household income but also help the Church that largely relies on believers for financial support.

“This is a well-thought intervention because some churches are becoming a burden to believers which is also hindering spiritual growth. Your Christians are poor but you demand thanksgiving, tithe and other contributions every Sunday. A believer who has no money has no alternative but to shun the church instead of suffering shame and stigma for failure to contribute money,” Mr Kateera said.

UCDA is working with different religious institutions across the country to promote coffee growing in line with the National Development Plan (NDP III) target of mindset change to promote development.

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Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has welcomed on board two private companies selected to benefit from a matching grant scheme from the European Union – East African Community Market Access Upgrade (EU-EAC MARKUP) programme.

The matching grant scheme under the EU-EAC MARKUP programme targets SMEs from the coffee and cocoa sub sectors for grants that will among others boost production, reduce harvest and post-harvest losses while allowing for increased market access and visibility for the products on the European Union and East African Community markets.

Speaking at an inception meeting held in the UCDA boardroom, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, UCDA’s Managing Director welcomed UGACOF and AINEA & Sons which are the first beneficiaries of six that were chosen for the scheme.

“This grant focuses on improving post-harvest handling practices. It aims at empowering the farmer. Therefore, I call on you to support farmers get good value for their [coffee and cocoa],” Dr. Emmanuel noted.

He also cautioned the beneficiaries to be keen on accountability.

“As government, we don’t want to have accountability issues. In case of challenges, write and seek clarification,” Dr. Iyamulemye said.

Juvenal Muhumuza, Assistant Commissioner, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development noted that the Ministry would support the beneficiaries achieve their goals.

“We at Ministry of Finance recognize coffee as one of the products that can turn the fortunes of this country and this has been reflected by the recent figures of coffee exports,” he said. “We want to promise you maximum cooperation and we look forward to working closely with you to achieve the intended objectives.”

The EU representative, Patrick Seruyange noted that it was a rigorous process to get the two grant beneficiaries on board and the two companies will work with government through UCDA which is the coordinating partner for the EU-EAC MARKUP programme.

The Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is an initiative of the EAC Partner States funded by the EU and aims at addressing both supply side and market access constraints of some of the key export-oriented sectors, with particular focus on exports to the EU and ACP markets. In Uganda, the programme focuses on two commodities namely coffee and cocoa.

Specifically, the project will enhance market access to EU and the East African region by supporting private operators in the coffee and cocoa value chains to improve quality and quantity of the produce and retain premium prices for the same through niche markets.

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UCDA Coffee Lab to Upgrade to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Accreditation

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is transitioning its Coffee Testing Laboratory in Lugogo to the new ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 standard issued by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) under the European Union funded Market Access Upgrade (MARKUP) project for the coffee and cocoa value chain development in Uganda.

The International Standard ISO/IEC17025 is used for the accreditation of competence of testing and calibration laboratories worldwide. According to ISO, all accredited laboratories in the world are supposed to transition to the new standard which will replace the ISO Standard ISO 17025:2005 in June 2021.

One of the result areas of the MARKUP project Programme estimate focuses on upgrading coffee certification and quality control services of the UCDA laboratories to achieve ISO 17025:2017 accreditation. After a competitive selection and evaluation using EU guidelines, ESQ Cert Uganda, an ISO Certification company, was awarded the contract for consultancy services to spearhead the process of accreditation. The process shall involve reviewing and upgrading the current laboratory documentation to meet the requirements of the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard, capacity building of staff and training of internal auditors who will periodically verify effective implementation across the entire laboratory operations.

UCDA is working with ESQ Cert Uganda not only to build staff capacity but also to put in place systems for a smooth transition.

Currently, UCDA is recognized against the old version of ISO/IEC standard ISO 17025:2005. However, under MARKUP, ESQ Cert consultants will provide technical support to upgrade to the new version of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 which covers all activities of the UCDA laboratory.

Speaking during a 3-day capacity training building session for UCDA staff on Thursday 4 February 2021, Edmund Kananura, the UCDA Director Quality and Regulatory Services, said, “The accreditation will boost confidence in the results from our laboratories. It will also ensure that our laboratory operations are aligned with international processes. This will have a positive impact on our exports and build the image of Uganda coffee in global markets.”

According to Jean Atamba, a consultant from ESQ Cert Uganda Limited, accredited laboratories are recognized for their competence and abilities globally. This helps them to improve and monitor the operational process and to satisfy customer requirements.

The updated standard covers technical changes that have developed since 17025:2005 was adopted. The main changes incorporated in the 17025:2017 standard include focusing on the results of the processes instead of the list of actions “to be done”; better accounts for electronic forms of documentation, communication, and data storage and incorporating a risk-based approach. In addition, the scope of 17025:2017 has been revised to cover all laboratory activities including testing, calibration and the sampling associated with subsequent calibration and testing.

The ISO 17025 standard specifies the general requirements for the competence, impartiality and consistent operation of laboratories and is applicable to all organizations performing laboratory activities.

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