Uganda’s coffee exports for FY2021/22 hit 6.26 million bags despite drought

JULY 14, 2022, KAMPALA, UGANDA - Coffee exports for 12 months (Financial year 2021/22) totaled 6.26 million bags worth US$ 862.28 million compared to 6.08 million bags worth US$ 559.16 million the previous year (Financial year 2020/21). This represents an increase of 3% and 54% in both quantity and value respectively, the UCDA June Coffee Report reveals (https://ugandacoffee.go.ug/file-download/download/public/82).

Uganda's coffee exports for the month of June amounted to 530,365 60-kilo bags of coffee valued at US$ 83.79 million. This comprised 444,197 bags of Robusta valued at US $60.98 million and 86,168 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 22.82. This was a decrease of 14% in quantity but an increase of 43% in value compared to the same month last year.

Farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged UGX 2,600 per kilo; FAQ UGX 6,450 per kilo, Arabica parchment UGX 10,500 per kilo and Drugar UGX 9,500 per kilo.

Robusta exports accounted for 84% of total exports higher than 77% in May 2022. By comparing quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (June 2021), Robusta decreased by 21.44% in quantity but increased by 21.37% in value. The decrease in Robusta exports was mainly attributed to lower yields this year that were characterized by drought in most regions. This led to a shorter main harvest season in Central and Eastern regions and reduced harvests from Greater Masaka and South-Western regions whose peak is expected in July 2022.

Arabica exports increased by 62.77% and 174.46% in quantity and value respectively due to an on-year cycle characteristic of Arabica coffee production. Arabica fetched an average price of US$ 4.41 per kilo. Okoro CP/B from West Nile sold at the highest price of US$ 7.23 per kilo.

Ten exporters out of 55 companies which performed during June exported 74% of the total volume.

Italy maintained the highest market share of 40.25% followed by Germany 11.34%, Sudan 10.35% (10.74%) India 7.42% (7.27%) and Morocco 4.82% (1.95%). Coffee exports to Africa amounted to 109,506 bags, a market share of 21% compared to 70,782 bags (16%) the previous month.

Coffee exports for July are projected to be 600,000 bags.

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UCDA Gives out Shs 2.2bn Wet Processing Equipment to Arabica Coffee Farmers

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Bwino Fred Kyakulaga launched the distribution of coffee wet processing equipment worth Shs 2.2bn to coffee processors from across the country yesterday. The launch took place at the Tirupati stores in Kyebando, Kampala.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries through the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) gave out the Coffee Wet Processing Equipment (wet mills) to 35 Arabica-coffee farmers, cooperatives and institutions selected from different parts of the country.

The programme is part of UCDA's efforts to increase specialty coffee volumes and enable farmers and the country to earn premium prices from high-quality arabica coffee.

The Minister handed over five electric-powered wet processing units (UDC 2000) with a capacity to process 1,200 kgs of cherry per hour and 30 petrol-powered units with a processing capacity of 800kgs of cherry per hour. Once installed, the machines will pulp ripe coffee, separate the unripe and dry pods from the good parchment, and remove mucilage leaving high-quality parchment.

The equipment will serve farmers and groups in hard-to-reach areas of Kween, Lamwo, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Buhweju, Kanungu, and Kisoro that have all benefited from the program.

Officiating at the launch of the distribution of the wet mills to the selected beneficiaries in Kampala, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the State Minister for Agriculture, said that Uganda has 18 commercial wet mills only compared to dry mills which are over 850.

He noted the need to scale up wet processing to produce commercial volumes in Arabica and Robusta growing areas which will fetch farmers premium prices.

Bwino added that the main objective of procuring the 35 wet processing equipment is to increase the number of wet mills and enhance coffee farmers’ income through value addition by increasing the production of high-quality coffee.

Most of our coffee is processed and marketed as natural and misses the premium prices. Yet, if the coffee is processed as washed and specialty coffee, it earns more.

“For instance, one kg of natural Arabica (dry Uganda Arabica) coffee
fetches Shs14,000 while a kg of washed Arabica coffee fetches Shs18,000,” Bwino said.

“The wet mills will, therefore, increase the production of premium coffee which in turn will enhance the incomes of coffee farmers,” Bwino added.

Speaking at the same event, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Managing Director at UCDA, said that the Authority worked with Local Governments to select the beneficiaries.

"We went through a transparent and rigorous process to select the beneficiaries. Many farmer groups and cooperatives applied for the wet mills but since the funds available weren’t enough, the most qualified organisations were considered.

He added that the equipment will be installed and operational within two months. However, he cautioned the beneficiaries to use the wet mills for the intended objective.

“This is a conditional allocation from Government, and if the machines are not used properly, we shall take them back,” Iyamulemye said, urging beneficiaries to allow other farmers to use the equipment at no extra fee apart from operational costs.

Alfred Boyo, a director at Masha Coffee, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude to UCDA and MAAIF for availing wet mills to farmers, noting that they will handle them with care and make the best use of them.

He added that the Government should also consider investing more in secondary processing by making available relevant equipment like roasters and grinders.

SCOGEM Enterprises Ltd supplied the equipment. Walter Upoki Umika, the Managing Director at SCOGEM Enterprises Ltd, said all the machines are full coffee washing equipment and can do pulping, sorting, flotation, mucilage removal and have the flexibility to do honey coffee.
The smaller machines cost Shs40m each while the bigger ones cost about Shs220m each.

In FY 2020/21, Uganda earned US$ 559 million from 6.1 million 60-kilo bags. Placing substantial investment in the coffee sub-sector will be a game-changer for the country and the 1.8 million households who benefit from coffee.

 

 

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Coffee exporters enjoy clean sweep at President Export Awards 2022

Coffee exporters had a clean sweep of the top positions at the Presidential Exporter Awards 2022, held in Kampala.

UGACOF, emerged top in the Presidential Exporter Awards for the year 2022, while Olam Uganda and Kawacom were 1st & 2nd Runner Up.

UGACOF is Uganda's largest coffee buyer, processor, and exporter with an export turnover of $100m per annum.

While receiving the award, Michael Nuwagaba, the Chief Operations Officer at UGACOF attributed the excellent performance of the coffee sector to the Coffee Roadmap launched by H.E The President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 2017.

The Roadmap set a production target of 20 million bags by 2030. Since its launch, various efforts have been undertaken by different actors to see accelerated production of coffee.

"We have seen growth in our export volumes. Currently, we export over 1.2 million bags of coffee per year. This rise is a result of the efforts of the different actors," Nuwagaba said.

Uganda has seen a steady rise in coffee export volumes which had stagnated at 3.5m bags.

Coffee exports for 12 months (June 2021-May 2022) totaled 6.35 million bags worth US 837.14 million compared to 5.88 million bags worth US$ 540.54 million the previous year (June 2020-May 2021). This represents an increase of 8% and 55% in both quantity and value respectively.

The Uganda Export Promotions Board organizes the awards and is the national focal point for export promotion and development.

 

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Uganda Coffee Exporters Tipped on How to Penetrate China Market

Uganda coffee exporters have met with Uganda’s Deputy Head of Mission to Beijing, China, Amb. Fred Mugisha, to strategize on how to penetrate the China market.

The meeting held on 15th April 2022 in Kampala, was a follow up of the first ever Uganda Coffee Day simultaneously held on March 17, 2022 in Uganda and China and was convened to discuss the coffee opportunities in China and the issues raised by coffee stakeholders in Guangzhou.

“We have been marketing and promoting Uganda coffee in China and of late, we have come across very serious[Chinese] companies that want to do joint ventures with Ugandan companies to get our coffee in the Chinese market,” Mugisha said.

China is the second biggest economy in the world with a huge middle class. Traditionally, Chinese were tea people but they are now shifting to coffee and according to Amb. Mugisha this provides Uganda a big opportunity. 

The Ambassador pledged the embassy’s support to exporters who are ready to do business in China. He noted that online marketing is the way to go and encouraged them to take advantage of the available online channels to market Ugandan coffee.

David Katungi, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), called on the exporters to embrace the opportunities in emerging markets such as China to sell their coffee. He reiterated Government’s pledge to support exporters and emphasized that Government has invested in interventions to increase production which will boost export.

“We have interventions geared towards increasing coffee production and productivity. In 2017, we launched the coffee roadmap whose target is to produce 20 million bags by 2025 and we are moving steadily towards that target and with the interventions that we have put in place such as providing seedlings to farmers, extension services and guiding farmers on good agricultural practices, we should be able to produce what is able to satisfy the market,” Katungi said. He encouraged stakeholders to continue investing in coffee before continuing to recount UCDA’s strategic interventions in China and other emerging markets.

“UCDA is working with Uganda’s foreign missions to promote coffee,” Katungi said. “Specifically, we have developed a coffee promotion strategy for China (which we will share with you at an opportune time). We are also in the process of developing an online marketing platform to explore the opportunity of promoting, and selling Uganda coffee online.”

The Acting Director Quality and Regulatory Services, Doreen Rweihangwe, notified the exporters that UCDA has profiled Uganda coffees according to agro ecological zones in partnership with Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). Exporters will be able to use the coffee profiles to market their coffee which is important for buyers who want to trace the coffee origin.

During the meeting attended by small and medium companies, exporters raised concerns such as the need for a warehouse in China, branding, marketing and promotion and trade financing among others.

“A warehouse is a necessity for us and the sooner we get it, the better for our entry into the Chinese market," Joseph Nkandu, the Executive Director at National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), said. Nkandu also noted that there is need for the government to de-risk the market. He also stressed that there should be a deliberate effort to send young Ugandans to China to learn the language to prepare companies to do business in China.

Nkandu added that “finance is going to be an important factor” if Uganda coffee exporters are going to penetrate the Chinese market.

Aggrey Tumuhairwe, a partner in Kangumamu Agro processing and Exporters, a player already exploiting the Chinese market said that for Ugandan exporters to benefit from the China market, they will require an office there and will need to partner with Chinese companies. He said it is very difficult to break into the Chinese market without joint ventures. Tumuhairwe also noted that the quality of coffee and the consistency are key. He called on Government to support exporters through a brand awareness campaign of the country that will make Uganda known in China. This can then be supplemented with a coffee promotion campaign.

In an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, Katungi noted that Uganda has the capacity to satisfy the China market.

“We have seen a trend of several people entering the coffee industry to produce on a commercial level. There is a lot of land put under coffee production,” he said. “We see coffee production going up and investments going into it. So, we are confident that we have sufficient volumes to meet the huge market in China and other emerging markets.”

Katungi urged the exporters to build their capacity to provide quality coffee which will guarantee the market. The exporters, he emphasized, need to do due diligence to understand the needs of the coffee buyers in order to mobilize the kind of coffee required. In addition, they need to work together as no single exporter would be able to satisfy the market.

“Exporters would benefit more from this market if they came together and raised sufficient capital or meet the requirements because the volumes are high,” Katungi said. “Exporters should understand the dynamics of the China coffee market. One of those dynamics is that for one to supply and sustain supply they will need to partner with a local Chinese firm.”

Importantly, Katungi said that whereas China is a very unique market because of their culture, the general marketing principles apply. The exporters must ensure they meet the market quality requirements, they must be consistent with supply, they must be trusted and operate on pure acceptable business principles, he guided.

Coffee exports to China have been increasing over the years. For instance, Uganda exported 33,000 bags of coffee to China in 2018, 66,000 bags in 2019 and 83, 000 bags in 2020.

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Uganda Committed To Increase Coffee Exports To China

The Minister for State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem, has reiterated Government of Uganda’s commitment to increase Coffee Exports to China.

The Minister made these remarks while speaking at the one-day Hybrid event, the 1st Uganda Coffee Day organized by the Consulate General of the Republic of Uganda in Guangzhou in conjunction with the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in Beijing, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) which was convened with the purpose of increasing the volume of exported coffee and coffee products from Uganda to China.

The event which took place simultaneously in Guangzhou at Guangzhou Jinda Coffee & Beverages Market, one of the largest coffee markets in Southern China, and UCDA Offices in Kampala featured a coffee cupping and tasting of the latest harvest of coffee samples of both Robusta and Arabica coffee.

The main objective of this event was to promote the unique quality of Uganda Coffee in China, create partnerships for importation of Uganda coffee into China and attract investments in value addition in Uganda’s coffee sector.

The Uganda Coffee Day is one of the activities to be held in commemoration of 60 years of Uganda- China relations under the theme “60 years of Strategic Friendship and Cooperation between Uganda and China towards a Shared Future in a New Era”.

The Minister commended the efforts of Uganda’s Consulate in Guangzhou and Embassy in Beijing for convening this event noting that this is in fulfillment of the Ministry’s deliberate policy to pursue Economic and Commercial Diplomacy in a bid to strengthen bilateral trade with China.

Hon. Oyrem informed that H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, directed the Uganda Coffee Development Authority to accelerate the coffee production from 3.5M 60kg to 20M by 2025. He affirmed that engagements like these will afford a necessary platform to explore the different ways on how this can be achieved.

The Minister further noted that Ugandan coffee is now ranked 3rd globally in terms of quality and Government is looking at ways of supporting the private sector to penetrate the Chinese market which will give the farmer a good place in the global trade.

H.E. Zhang Lizhong the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda lauded the excellent bilateral relations between China and Uganda. He further commended the efforts of the Uganda Consulate and Embassy in China and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) for organizing this event to promote coffee exports from Uganda to China.

The Ambassador further reiterated Government of China’s commitment to increase bilateral trade and informed that one of the ways to achieve this is through increased export of Uganda’s coffee which has a unique taste and flavor loved by a significant percentage of Chinese people.

He also informed of the commitment of the Chinese Embassy in Uganda to continue offering UCDA technical support to achieve this common goal for the mutual benefit of both parties.

Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Managing Director at Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), revealed that “Uganda is coming to China in a big way.” He further informed that Uganda’s coffee first arrived in China in 2003 and today’s event is one of the activities aimed at finding ways of how Ugandan coffee can penetrate the Chinese market.

He added that Uganda’s coffee roadmap of increasing coffee production from 3.5m bags to 20m bags by 2030 has been informed by lessons worldwide in terms of the market. He highlighted that “For China, UCDA is looking at a structured approach to offset the imports deficit through increased export volumes of coffee with a focus on high-quality specialty.

Amb. Fred Mugisha, the Acting Ambassador to China appreciated Minister Hon. Okello Oryem and H.E. Zhang Lizhong the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda for gracing the function as well as reiterating commitment to increase coffee exports to the Republic of China.

In his remarks, Ambassador Fred Mugisha hailed the good relations between Uganda and China. He thanked Mr. Cai Shuqiang and his team for the support and collaboration in organizing the Uganda Coffee Day in Guangzhou under the theme“60 years of Strategic Friendship and Cooperation between Uganda and China towards a Shared Future in a New Era”

He highlighted that Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and the People’s Republic of China gives Ugandan coffee access to the Chinese market. He encouraged coffee exporters to take advantage of this MOU to increase coffee exports to China.

Mr. Cai Shuqiang, the President of the Jinda Coffee Market in Guangzhou, thanked the staff of Uganda’s Consulate and Embassy in China and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) for organizing this event the 1st Uganda Coffee Day in Guangzhou.

The President underscored the enormous potential for Uganda coffee in China. He expressed commitment to partner with UCDA and any other willing Ugandan Coffee exporting company in the exportation of Uganda coffee to China. He further emphasized that he would organize and lead a delegation of Chinese Investors to Uganda to explore more opportunities in the coffee sector once the COVID-19 restrictions on travel in  China are reviewed.

According to statistics from UCDA China’s coffee market is estimated at US$11.5bn in annual sales and is expected to grow by 10% in the next five years. Additionally, Coffee consumption in China is growing at between 15%-20% annually. With the increasing volumes of organically grown coffee, Uganda has an advantage over other African countries to capture the China coffee market.

The event attracted key players in the coffee sector i.e coffee importers & exporters, traders, roasters, dealers in coffee machinery & related equipment, media practitioners and relevant Government departments. It was concluded with an award prize-giving ceremony for Uganda’s best coffees in cupping and tasting presided over by Mr. Jacky Lee Judge and Panel Chief in Guangzhou. The following coffee brands won different prizes with Sipi falls Natural Anaerobic from Kawacom (U) Ltd winning followed by Natural from Mountain Harvest and  Mt Elgon UTZ AAA washed Arabica coffee.

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Agriculture State Minister Commends Uganda Team At Expo 2020 Dubai

Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has urged Uganda’s representatives at Expo 2020 in Dubai to pursue the leads generated to the end to ensure the country benefits from the experience of participating in the six-month long event.

The Minister was in Dubai to attend the Agricultural Thematic Week at Expo 2020. He appreciated the stakeholders present and commended them highly for representing Uganda in their different capacities and urged them to pick lessons they can use to transform their respective sectors back home.

“We should not just come to the Expo, stay for six months and go back [with nothing to show for it],” he told stakeholders at the Uganda pavilion. “We should at our various levels seriously think how much we can emulate this and benefit from it; how much was invested and how much has been recovered.”

Expo 2020 began on 1st October 2021 and will run till 31st March 2022.

According to Dr. Sam Omara, the Deputy Commissioner General of the Uganda pavilion, the country has exceeded its target of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth 4 billion shillings to Uganda by the end of the expo.

“The target of our participation at Expo 2020 was to attract FDI worth 4 billion shillings to Uganda by the end of the 6 months but as I speak now we have so far surpassed that by over 500 million shillings,” Dr. Omara said.

He revealed that there are several projects still underway and the figure is likely to go higher.

The most sought after agricultural products according to the pavilion director, Mr. J. B. Lwere, are coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables, among others. The exposure Uganda coffee has received at Expo 2020 is expected to increase exports to the region with several expressions of interest being received at the pavilion daily.

Coffee exports to the Middle East have been on the rise. In FY 2020/21, Uganda exported 127,519 60 kg bags of coffee compared to 82,249 bags the previous year.

According to Uganda Coffee Development Authority’s representative at the pavilion, Ms. Judith Engena, visitors appreciate Uganda’s coffee and have given it positive reviews. Engena said they have received several expressions of interest in both Arabica and Robusta coffee which they believe will translate into actual sales.

The Minister encouraged all present to work together to raise the country’s flag and move the nation forward and urged the stakeholders to ensure consistency in quality, quantity and volume of their products.

“The [export] opportunities are immense; we simply cannot exhaust the demand. The issues are well articulated regarding consistency in value and on volumes,” the Minister stated before adding, “The key driver in this is the Government. We will come up with a way to handle the entire value chain and segment the various markets.”

Picking up on issues raised in the meeting regarding quality and product packaging, Onzimai of PSFU informed the meeting that his organisation can provide solutions if they have the necessary information on what is required. He suggested that a team made up of representatives from the different stakeholders be commissioned to solve non-capital expenditure (non-CAPEX) issues.

“We have latitude to address non-CAPEX issues such as designing packaging, for companies to get certifications to access the markets, bringing products to the markets and building market linkages,” Onzimai said.

Also present at the meeting were Ambassador Elly Kamahungye Kafeero and Brain Mwanika from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Onzimai, an investment specialist from Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Lawrence Oketcho the director trade information at Uganda Export Promotions Board, private sector players and a team from Uganda Coffee Development Authority.

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Q&A: UCDA MD Reveals How The Authority Intends To Make Uganda Coffee More Competitive, Profitable

n an exclusive Q&A interview, Dr. Emmanuel  Iyamulemye, the Managing Director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) responded to a wide range of issues concerning the coffee sub-sector and revealed plans to make Uganda coffee more competitive and profitable.

Q: UCDA has registered several achievements over the last five years under your leadership. What would you say are the major achievements for the coffee sub sector in this period?

A: As you have said, the Authority under my leadership has achieved a lot in the last five years. I must say it has been a team effort.

When I joined UCDA in 2016, there was a target of increasing coffee production to 20 million 60kg bags by 2025. I can report that we have seen coffee production increase from 4.2 million 60kg bags in FY 2015/16 to 8.06 million bags in FY 2020/21 while coffee exports have increased from 3.6 million 60kg bags in FY 2015/16 to 6.1 million 60kg bags in FY 2020/21. That’s no mean achievement for the industry. The coffee production and export figures recorded in FY 2020/21 were the highest ever. This is mainly attributed to the planting of new coffee trees. Cumulatively, 1.167bn coffee seedlings were generated and distributed between FY 2015/16 and FY 2020/21.

I thank the President for consistently encouraging people to plant coffee to improve household incomes.  

To ensure that only quality coffee is produced, UCDA continuously sensitizes nursery operators. We developed for them training manuals on how to produce quality seedlings and this has greatly increased coffee production countrywide. Our target is to have at least one certified nursery operator in every sub-county to make seedlings more easily available to farmers.

UCDA is working with National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI) to develop high-yielding and wilt-resistant coffee varieties.

To date, 10 varieties (KR1-10) have been developed and more are in the pipeline. We now have new Arabica varieties as well that are drought tolerant and high yielding.

Over the past five years, We have been sensitizing the public on the profitability of coffee as a business. For example, with a one hectare farm (approximately 2.5 acres of coffee), one can make a minimum of Shs20m annually which would change the fortunes of a household.

We have also established strategic partnerships with cultural institutions, religious institutions, district local governments, Uganda Development Bank and Uganda Prisons Services. We also revamped the International Women’s Coffee Alliance – Uganda Chapter to get more women in coffee because they are key in households.

With regards to sustainable coffee production, we have built capacity among the youth to trade brew and roast coffee.

We are now running a campaign on the rehabilitation of old coffee trees to increase production and productivity. To encourage farmers to stump their coffee trees, we have given them fertilizers but this is a one-off intervention to demonstrate how stumped coffee trees can be productive.

We have also promoted Uganda coffee in new markets. For example, we set up a coffee promotion office in Guangzhou, China in 2016 and since that time we have developed a coffee promotion strategy specifically for China. This is important for us because coffee consumption in China is growing at 15% annually compared to the global average of 2.5%. In addition, we partnered with the British High Commission to help Uganda Coffee enter the UK market. We have partnerships with Uganda’s foreign missions with commercial attachés. We want to maintain our key markets specifically Italy, Germany and Spain but we also want to go beyond.  We want to embark on aggressive marketing. We have partnered with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) of the United States to develop the various profiles of coffee from different parts of Uganda because each region has its own unique taste.

The National Coffee Act 2021 is a landmark achievement for us. When UCDA was established in 1991, our mandate was on quality at pre-export but the new law allows us to regulate and promote quality of all on-farm and off-farm activities along the coffee value chain.

Q: The National Coffee Act has been hailed as a game changer. What are UCDA’s focus areas in as far as implementation of the law is concerned?

A: This Act gives UCDA powers to regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the coffee value chain.

The Act repealed the UCDA Act, Cap. 325, which was enacted in 1991 and only covered off-farm activities of marketing and processing, leaving on-farm activities like planting materials, nurseries, harvesting and post-harvest handling outside the scope of the law. We are right now focusing on sensitization of coffee stakeholders about this new law ahead of registration of farmers because once we have a farmer’s register, we shall have a traceability system that will make it easy to link farmers to the markets. It will also be easy for us to disseminate information to them. It also helps us in our planning; to know the number of old coffee trees and the pests and diseases that are prevalent in various areas.

We started by recruiting Parish Coffee Development Advisors. We are identifying lead farmers in parishes who will help in the registration of farmers once we have a platform that will capture all key variables about farmers.

Farmer organizations are also a key focus area for us. We have an MOU with Uganda Cooperative Alliance to professionalize cooperatives and farmer organizations. Picking from the Coffee Roadmap, our target is to grow coffee farmers in cooperatives from about 25% to 85%.  We want to understand the needs of the existing farmer organisations and support smallholder farmers to get organized.

Q: What should coffee stakeholders (nursery operators, farmers, traders, exporters, café owners, processors, factory owners, roasters) expect from the Authority in the next five years?

A: We are focusing on agro-processing. With support from Government, we want to have a soluble plant in the next five years through a public-private partnership. We are working with Uganda Development Corporation to ensure that this is achieved. This will increase value addition to our coffee.

It would also be good if we established a packaging plant in Uganda because most of the packaging materials come from China and Kenya. The plant may not be exclusive to coffee but can serve other industries.

We are also positioning ourselves as producers of specialty and fine coffees. With high-quality/premium coffee, our coffee will market itself and fetch higher prices.

Q: There are concerns that farmers aren’t benefiting much from the increasing coffee exports. There are arguments that middlemen and largely foreign-owned companies are the ones benefiting at the expense of farmers. What are your thoughts about these concerns? How best can farmers get better prices?

A: Incidentally, there are many countries coming to benchmark on Uganda. The money that goes to the farmer is about 75% of the export price. The rest is divided among the middleman, the transporter and the exporter. However, we shouldn’t be celebrating about that price of green coffee. Our focus should be to have a big chunk of coffee exported as roast and ground coffee. That’s where the money is.

Q: What else is UCDA doing to promote coffee value addition across the coffee value chain?

A: Value addition is broad. Even quality is value addition; if you harvest ripe cherries and dry it well on tarpaulins or raised trellis, you are adding value to your coffee. The price you’ll get will be higher. We want more farmers selling Fair Average Quality coffee (kase) rather than kiboko (dry cherries). This can be achieved if milling the coffee is done at a subsidized cost and this is a process we are working on.

We have stepped up our efforts in coffee extension and training to advise farmers on the best practices to produce, harvest and process their coffee and add value to it.

At the tertiary level, we have procured wet mills to support small and medium farmers to process their Arabica coffee into parchment which fetches higher prices than red cherries. We also are building roasting and brewing capacity.

Q: UCDA has been promoting domestic coffee consumption over the past 10 or so years? What progress have you made? What plans do you have to increase consumption?

A: We have made good progress in coffee consumption. We have generally been a tea drinking country but that’s changing. Many people are appreciating the health benefits of drinking coffee. There’s a big mindset change. We are demystifying misconceptions that associate coffee with bad health. We have also trained youth in roasting and barista skills. There are so many coffee shops in every corner of Kampala and other upcountry cities and towns.  We have now procured a promotional van. It’s under fabrication, fitting in brewing machines. It will be a moving kitchen and it will help us sensitive people on how to brew and drink coffee for health benefits. We also want to ensure that the baristas we have trained end up in cafes not roasteries. Young people are appreciating coffee drinking. We now have coffee clubs in most public universities.

Q: Farmers are facing many challenges including the Black Coffee Twig Borer and climate change among others. How do you intend to support them going forward?

A: It is true we received reports from farmers that some of their coffee trees were drying. In partnership with NaCORI, we carried out a study to establish the cause. We discovered that some of the trees had been attacked by the Coffee Wilt Disease and others by the Black Coffee Twig Borer. We are now trying to establish the magnitude of the problem as we plan to massively sensitize farmers on how to handle the challenge at hand. We are also looking at how Government can support farmers by, for example, waiving some taxes on key imported chemicals or providing the required chemicals to farmers at subsidized rates. We will also engage financial institutions to consider developing some input packages including fertilizers and affordable irrigation packages.

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