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Ugandan Brands Win Coffees Roasted At Origin International Competition In Paris

Ugandan Coffee brands have been recognized among the world’s best coffees at the 9th International Contest of “Coffees roasted at origin” 2023 competition held in Paris, France.

The winners of the competition were announced on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 in Paris, France.

The competition is organized by the Agency for Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA) to enable producers to improve consumer perception of exceptional coffees cultivated and roasted properly by the producers.

AVPA offers an opportunity to producers (individual or organized in associations or cooperatives) who take responsibility for their roasting and roasters located in the countries of production and guarantee the traceability of their coffees, to participate in the contest “Coffees roasted at origin”.

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) submitted an impressive selection of 15 samples of roasted coffees from Ugandan farmers and roasters to this prestigious contest.

Nearly 200 exceptional coffees/samples spread over 25 countries from four continents took part in the competition.


Two Ugandan coffee brands won Gold medals; Gorilla Highlands from Bwindi and Sasa Coffee from Mount Elgon area.

Zicofe, Kikobero Coffee and Nucafe received Silver, while Big Gorilla, Dicana Coffee and Sipi Hills won Bronze medals.

Mugamba Organic, Nucafe, Elgon Pride, Gorilla Conservation Coffee and Masha Coffee were also recognized with Certificates of Excellence.

Uganda emerged the best in Africa as 13 of the 15 samples submitted were awarded and recognized. It was followed by Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Kenya with five, three and two samples recognized and awarded respectively.

Peru, Columbia and Uganda took the first three positions.

Uganda’s remarkable coffees embody the diverse flavors and rich heritage of the country’s thriving coffee industry.

Laura Walusimbi, the Corporate Communications Manager at UCDA, congratulated all the winners of the AVPA “Coffees Roasted at Origin” competition.

“The dedication and hard work that they put into producing such exceptional coffee is commendable. UCDA is mandated to regulate, promote, and oversee the coffee industry and we pledge our full support to all stakeholders. Together, we will elevate Uganda’s outstanding coffee to global recognition,” she said.

Quality improving

The competition organizers say they received fantastic coffee from all over the world and that it was a hard task for jury members to do the tasting and pick the eventual winners.

The AVPA jury consists of six to twelve members. The jury members are French speaking; they are professionals in the coffee industry (producers, roasters, and distributors), chefs, gourmets and discerning consumers.

“The quality of the green coffee that has been used in the selection is really good,” a taster said, adding: “The profile, packaging and the quality has really improved. We are hopeful that the coffees that were recognized with medals get to have the recognition on the market and improve what they are already doing.”

The organizers say that for those who were not awarded, it is a chance for them to improve the quality of their coffee and the roast profile.

A coffee taster, Marilyn Kennedy, appealed to participants to “keep up the good work.”

“We need to elevate the quality of coffee all over the world and you are there to do that and we are here to taste that coffee,” she said.

Premium Prices in the offing

Richard Rugaya, the Founder of Gorilla Highlands, says the Paris event is going to help them achieve premium prices by selling coffee roasted at the origin and that it will help the company and the farmers improve their livelihood and incomes.

Martin Nangoli, the founder and Managing Director of Kikobero Coffee Company Ltd, says the win of a silver medal for Kikobero Coffee was a surprise and is a huge win for Ugandan Specialty coffee.

“Kikobero Coffee was selected and submitted for this competition. The win means a lot for our Ugandan coffee on any shelves anywhere in the world. It means our coffee is of high quality,” Nangoli.

He adds that roasting coffee at the origin is key as it shows that “we are in charge of our roasting profiles.”

“If Uganda competed among 200 coffees from 25 countries and came out with such results, it means a lot in the world of coffee. It’s worth celebrating,” he said.

“We look after our farmers, our coffee, our processors and our producers. We are concerned about every detail from the garden to the cup. This is what sets us apart. This win is setting a challenge for us to look at how to compete against giants like Ethiopia.”

He applauded UCDA for objectively considering and submitting a number of coffee samples from Uganda including Kikobero coffee to showcase their products at such a global event.


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Kisoro Coffee farmers set to tap into the specialty market

Kisoro, a coffee growing region with potential to produce some of the best Arabica in the country and enable farmers earn big from the lucrative coffee business still lags behind because of bottlenecks such as lack of processing equipment.

This is set to change as UCDA gave out four wet mills to coffee farming communities to support coffee processing, thus increasing the quality and volumes produced.

In March, UCDA Technical Extension Manager, Robert Tumwesigye oversaw the successful installation and operationalisation of a wet mill on Mr. Gerald Ngarama’s coffee farm in Murora sub-county, Kisoro district. The engine-driven wet mill has capacity to process 800kgs of red cherry per hour and will be accessed for free by other coffee farmers in the community.

Ngarama, is one of the recipients of the 35 wet mills procured by UCDA for distribution to coffee farmers across the country in a bid to improve coffee quality and promote production of specialty coffee which fetches a premium price.

Speaking at the launch, Tumwesigye noted that while access to the power grid remains a major challenge in rural areas, the engine-driven wet mill will ensure uninterrupted coffee processing.

Three other recipients of the wet mills are Festus Bahinyuza from Nyabwishenya sub-county, Winnie Bavuga from Nyakabande sub-county and Kenneth Barigye, Nyakabande sub-county.

Memory Akaijuka, the UCDA Regional Extension Officer for Kisoro says that coffee farmers in Kisoro have long struggled to process coffee to the right standard. This has often resulted in poorly processed coffee which fetches low prices on the market.

The installation of the wet mills will make it easy for farmers to pulp the coffee, store it in bulk as parchment and then, later, market it to buyers while maintaining its quality.

Kisoro Arabica coffee is grown on the slopes of Mt. Muhavura in south western Uganda. It has lively acidity, creamy mouthfeel and a sweet flavour with pleasantly lingering aftertaste.

In Kisoro district, about 80,000 farmers are involved in coffee growing with an estimated 4.3 million coffee trees planted mainly in the sub-counties of Nyabwishenya, Nyundo, Nyakabande, Busanza, Murora, Kirundo and Kisoro.

UCDA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries last year commenced on a program to scale up wet processing to produce commercial volumes in Arabica and Robusta growing areas to attract premium prices.

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Lusha Coffee to Export Specialty Arabica Beans from Uganda to Canada

The growing demand for Ugandan specialty coffee has seen a new entrant into the coffee export business set to increase the visibility of Uganda coffee in Canadian and major European cities.

Lusha, a coffee export company specialising in exporting specialty Arabica coffee to Canada says Uganda coffee has the potential to outcompete other origins in the Canadian and European markets due to its quality and unique attributes. 

The Toronto-based coffee export company which recently obtained an export license from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) will source specialty Arabica coffee from Bududa, on the slopes of Mountain Elgon in Eastern Uganda. This move is set to increase the visibility of Ugandan coffee in Canadian and major European cities and offers a unique opportunity for coffee lovers in Canada, North America and Europe to taste some of the best specialty Arabica coffee that Uganda has to offer.

The demand for specialty coffee has been on the rise globally, and Uganda has not been left behind in this trend. Uganda coffee has a unique flavour profile, with notes of fruit, chocolate, and nutty undertones, making it stand out from other origins. The unique attributes of Ugandan coffee have attracted the attention of coffee enthusiasts and roasters in North America, with Canada being a key market.

According to Randy Paul, ED of Lusha Coffee, Uganda has the potential to be the leading supplier of specialty coffee to cafes and roasters in North America. This statement is not unfounded, as Uganda has already made significant strides in recent years in the coffee industry. Uganda's coffee industry has seen its market share increase in several key markets, and the industry has made significant progress in improving the quality of its coffee beans.

During a recent visit to UCDA, Lusha Coffee's management team was briefed on export procedures, product certifications, and general market trends that dictate the performance of Uganda's coffee trading on the international market. The meeting was led by Dr. Emmanuel Lyamulemye, the Managing Director of UCDA, who emphasized the importance of complying with international standards and regulations, working together to promote Ugandan coffee on the international market, and focusing on quality and sustainability.

Dr. Lyamulemye also shared data on the performance of Uganda's coffee trading on the international market, including market trends and pricing. The data showed that Uganda's coffee industry has faced some challenges in the past, but has made significant progress in recent years, and is now poised to be a leading supplier of specialty coffee to cafes and roasters in North America.

The Executive Director further urged Lusha Coffee to work with qualified professionals to ensure the sourcing of high-quality green coffee beans and to create a relationship with the farmers through community engagements and formations of Agents networks to ensure continuous supply during the year. The Executive Director also emphasized the importance of collaboration between industry stakeholders, the government, and development partners to boost the coffee trade.

Lusha Coffee's entry into the coffee export business is a welcome move for the coffee industry in Uganda and Canada. This move is set to increase the visibility of Ugandan coffee in Canadian cities and offers a unique opportunity for coffee lovers in Canada to taste some of the best specialty Arabica coffee that Uganda has to offer. With the collaboration between Lusha Coffee, UCDA, and other industry stakeholders, Uganda's coffee industry is set to make significant progress in the international market and solidify its position as a leading supplier of specialty coffee.

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Manage the Black Coffee Twig Borer with these easy steps

The Black Coffee Twig Borer (BCTB) attacks crop-bearing branches of mainly Robusta trees causing them to dry. A farmer can lose up to 50% of the coffee yield if they do not manage BCTB on the farm.

The resultant damage from the beetle is higher during the dry season, especially in coffee trees under shade trees, closely planted coffee trees or inadequately pruned or de-suckered coffee.

Damage to coffee

Only female beetles cause damage to the plants by boring into the tissue of the host. They bore through the xylem into the twig pitch where they chew along the axis of the twig to make a common brood chamber for the eggs. The males live up to 6 days and are flightless while the females live up to 58 days.

The entire life cycle, from egg to mature adult, takes 29 days. On the 29th day, the new females exit the parental galleries to establish new ones. Each female hatches between 10 and 30 eggs. The larvae and adults of the borer get food from the symbiosis developed with the ambrosia fungus.

How to Control the Spread of BCTB

Regularly inspect the coffee field to check for any infestation. As soon as the pest is sighted, cut, chop and burn the affected plant parts. Farmers should avoid using musizi and musambya as shade trees. These are alternate host trees of the BCTB.

It is important that farmers use pest-free planting materials from UCDA-certified coffee nurseries only.

The beetle trap developed by the National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI) is highly effective in fighting the Black Co ffee Twig Borer. The trap is composed of a transparent plastic bottle, a smaller pharmaceutical bottle, ethanol and a wire or string.

The plastic bottle has two windows on opposite sides. It holds water which drowns and kills the beetle. The smaller bottle, with ethanol in it, is tied with a string and placed in the plastic bottle. The ethanol scent attracts the insect. Once inside the plastic bottle they are trapped by the water in it.

Community approach required

The pests can fly over a very long distance so it will not be helpful if one farmer uses the BCTB traps and others do not. The entire community must take up the technology.

Controlling BCTB

Cut, chop and burn affected plant parts.
Avoid using shade trees such as musizi and musambya. These are alternate host trees for the BCTB.
Use pest-free planting materials from certified coffee nurseries.
Inspect your field regularly to identify any infestation.

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Government Chief Whip implores North to embrace coffee to get out of economic slumber

The Government Chief Whip, Hon. Hamson Obua has pledged to work with UCDA to promote coffee growing in non-traditional coffee-growing regions such as the Lango sub-region in northern Uganda in a bid to support farmers switch from subsistence to commercial agriculture. 

Hon. Obua made the remarks during a visit he made to the UCDA coffee laboratory earlier today. 


“I want to thank the Managing Director (Dr. Iyamulemye) who came to my office to congratulate me upon my appointment but also to interest me in coffee. I come from a non-traditional coffee-growing area that is Lango which is comprised of 9 districts. I committed to the MD to hold the bull by the horns and start to promote coffee,” he said. 


UCDA has a programme to promote coffee growing in Northern Uganda. The programme is part of the initiatives introduced by the Authority to increase coffee production to 20 million bags by 2025, as per the Coffee Roadmap. Once achieved, the country will earn up to USD 2.2 billion per year through exports. 


“I want to take the lead for Lango. I am ready to mobilise the farmers. I will talk to the farmers about coffee on the radio, in meetings, and in other spaces,” Hon. Obua said. “We need to transform the country and, one of the transformational agendas is growing coffee including introducing it in non-traditional areas.”


He added that the biggest promoter of coffee in the country is H.E President Yoweri Museveni. 


“I want to tell you that the biggest promoter, the biggest marketer of coffee in the country is H.E the President, because on several occasions when he talks about the 4-acre model and the list of enterprises (for households to take on), coffee is priority number one,” Obua said.


Hon. Obua added that he intends to start growing coffee on a small scale after the inspiration and motivation for the President.


The President has called on Ugandans who want to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture to apportion some of their land to coffee. Under the 4-acre model, the President has recommended farmers dedicate one acre to coffee. 


In 2018, the President launched a 4-acre demo farm at Barlegi in Otuke district where farmers could go and learn about coffee growing. One acre is dedicated to coffee.


“Why should we have coffee only at the President’s demo farm in Otuke and even people around Otuke are not growing coffee?” Obua wondered. He added that efforts to popularize coffee must be enhanced. 

More farmers are embracing coffee growing as evidenced by the growth in export volumes. Coffee exports for 12 months (August 2021- July 2022) totaled 6.14 million bags worth US$ 875.95 million. This is the highest amount Uganda has ever earned from coffee in a single year. 

According to Dr. Iyamulemye, between 17% to19% of Uganda’s foreign exchange comes from coffee. The Authority has built a robust laboratory to ensure Uganda continues to export high-quality coffee to buyers globally. 


Uganda coffee is very popular in the USA, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East and there is a growing demand among African countries.


“Our coffee is number three in the world and given its quality, it is highly sought after. We follow stringent protocols here in the lab to ensure we export coffee that meets the standards of the buyers,” Dr. Iyamulemye said. 


Ms. Doreen Rweihangwe, the Director Quality and Regulatory Services at UCDA told Hon. Obua that UCDA has 25 inspectors who do physical grading, roasting, and sensory analysis of coffee samples before shipment to the final destination. 


“Uganda is where Robusta coffee originates and the protocols for evaluating Robusta coffee were developed in this laboratory. The UCDA coffee lab is internationally recognized and held in high regard,” Ms. Rweihangwe said. 


She added that UCDA registers coffee sales and carries out pre-shipment inspections for all coffee leaving the country. 


“We run stringent tests in the laboratory. This is why UCDA has been able to avoid product recalls and rejects that have affected other sectors. This is because of our stringent adherence to standards.” Rweihangwe added.


The USA is a popular destination for Uganda’s Arabica coffee while Europe is the biggest importer of Uganda’s Robusta coffee.


Hon. Obua noted that two weeks ago, while out of the country with team Uganda at the World Athletic Championships in Oregon, the discussions were not complete without talk about Uganda coffee, implying that it is an excellent product that has captured the attention of the world.


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Best of the Pearl Competition to raise the profile of Uganda Coffee in International Markets

The Uganda Coffee Development has sent out a call for samples for the second edition of the Best of the Pearl Robusta competition 2022. The deadline for submission is August 19, 2022.

In an effort to promote Uganda’s finest coffees and ensure their visibility in the international market, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) in partnership with the Uganda Coffee Federation (UCF) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) through the European Union East Africa Market Access Programme (EAC MARKUP), is organizing the Best of the Pearl Robusta Competition to select the best Robusta coffee in Uganda. The entries from across the country will be judged by a national and international jury certified by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

Quality is one of the most important variables that influence a coffee’s value. However, many coffee farmers and producers do not have access to the tools and support they need to understand the quality of their coffee, improve that quality, and access markets that reward that quality, ultimately enabling them to make more informed choices.

While Uganda’s coffee is lauded the world over for its unique attributes and is ranked as one of the best in the world, a lot of farmers have not had the opportunity to know how coffee is scored in international markets. Therefore, they miss out on opportunities to improve the quality and produce coffee that can fetch premium prices at the highest level.

The Best of the Pearl competition, therefore, presents an opportunity for Robusta farmers to have their coffee cupped and judged by a team of local and international judges who will select the very best and give feedback on areas for improvement.

UCDA will showcase the winning Robusta coffee at international fairs and an online auction will be held to have them sold to the highest bidder.

Uganda is the birthplace of Robusta coffee and it is important to raise the profile of our coffee in line with the aspirations of the Coffee Roadmap.

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Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) And Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) sign memorandum of cooperation

Kampala, Uganda - The Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) at Kampala Serena Hotel.

Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director UCDA signed on behalf of UCDA while Steven Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Officer signed on behalf of PSFU.

Dr. Iyamulemye, thanked Mr. Asiimwe for accepting to cooperate with UCDA to drive the coffee sector forward. Under the MOU, UCDA will work with PSFU to establish a mutual cooperation in the coffee subsector regarding production, productivity, marketing, policy environment, research and coffee business in the Private Sector of Uganda.

Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO PSFU noted that the private sector is the engine for economic growth in the country and working UCDA is going to open up new opportunities in areas such as ICT, tourism marketing, domestic consumption and finance. He added that the Memorandum is timely and a strong public private partnership will propel the industry to greater heights.

Under the memorandum, the specific areas of cooperation will include creation and exchange of information, cooperation on promoting coffee production, processing, domestic consumption and marketing in the private sector in Uganda and its membership.

Other areas include promotion and improvement in the marketing of coffee, including developing digital marketing platforms, with a view of optimizing efficiency and job creation among the youth; promoting domestic consumption of coffee in the private sector; promotion of coffee tourism and promotion of internationally accepted standards and quality of coffee to enhance its competitiveness.

UCDA will also work with PSFU to influence and lobby areas of mutual interest and pursue legal, regulatory and policy changes in the coffee value chain.

The two entities also agreed to raise private sector awareness about the value of coffee to the economy and household livelihood.

PSFU is an umbrella body for the private sector made up of 298 Business associations, Corporate bodies and the major Public Sector Agencies that support private sector growth in Uganda.

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3 September 2021, Kampala – The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Uganda Coffee Federation (UCF), and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural “Best of the Pearl” Robusta Coffee Competition in Uganda. The competition run from 24th - 26th August 2021 at the UCDA Coffee Quality Laboratory. It will be an annual competition that will be used to identify high quality producers.

Thirty coffees were cupped, graded and analysed by a panel of qualified and experienced local judges namely Clare Rwakatogoro (Head Judge), Raphael Wafoyo, Gail Mawocha, Godfrey Rwanshenyi and Peter Bwengye. The judges used the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) Fine Robusta score sheet and protocols to identify and select the best Robusta coffees from Uganda across the entire coffee value chain.

After three rounds of cupping in each of the washed and natural categories the winners emerged as follows: Washed: ZIGOTI COFFEE WORKS with a score of 86.15 Naturals: ANKOLE COFFEE PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE UNION with a score of 85.85

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