The first-ever trade event between Uganda and Vietnam provided a unique platform to accelerate trade, bilateral relationships and most importantly gave Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) a platform to showcase the country’s coffee and cocoa to Vietnamese investors.
The event, the Uganda Vietnam Business Summit, was held on 25th November 2022 at the Vietnam Convention Center in Hanoi. It was organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought to unlock investment and trade opportunities between the two countries.
In his address at the summit, His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni called on Vietnam to invest in value addition of coffee and other agricultural products, minerals and products such as cars, computers and machines. Museveni assured the investors that Uganda has the best investment environment with readily available raw materials and skilled manpower.
Uganda is set to benefit from partnering with the largest producer of Robusta coffee in the world after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support collaboration and knowledge transfer on coffee production between the two countries.
On 24th November 2022, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries signed the MoU with the government of the socialist republic of Vietnam represented by the Vietnam Coffee Coordination Board (VCCB).
The MoU will enable collaboration between Uganda and Vietnam to enhance coffee production and productivity, marketing, research in climate change and environment, research on varieties and extension services and value addition along the coffee value chain. Vietnam ranks as the largest producer of Robusta coffee with a production of 31.59 million 60kg bags in 2021/2022.
Coffee sub sector open to investment
Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director, UCDA in a panel discussion on value addition in agribusiness highlighted the opportunities available to investors of coffee in Uganda including preferential markets in the East African Community (EAC), African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the trade privileges from China, United Kingdom and the European Union markets for Uganda coffee products.
Dr. Iyamulemye highlighted investment opportunities in the export of green and roasted coffee, supply of coffee machinery, equipment, pesticides and fertilizers; production of coffee machinery, equipment, pesticides and fertilizers; production of packaging material such as gunny bags for the green coffee and pouches (Kraft or Matte) for roasted coffee; investment in washing stations that will enable production of fine and specialty coffee; soluble coffee production and investment in coffee roasteries and coffee shops.
Other panelists included Dr. Patience Rwamigisha, Assistant Commissioner Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Prince Bobby Juuko Kimbugwe, CEO Pure Grow Africa, who represented the private sector.
As UCDA works towards achieving the Presidential directive of 20 million 60kg bags of coffee by 2030 it is important to benchmark with such big producers on strategies that can be
used to accelerate production from the current 8.4 million bags.
Discussions at the summit focused on several priority sectors including agriculture with focus on coffee, forestry, aquaculture, grains, agricultural research, fertilizers, pesticides, dairy and tea. Other broad sectors include ICT, tourism, industry, trade, gas and minerals.