UGANDA – The European Union (EU) has granted Uganda US$4.1 million to boost the country’s coffee and cocoa industries.
The grant agreement sealed by Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and the EU ambassador to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici seeks to boost the coffee and cocoa exports in the EU market.
“This grant is aimed at value chain addition for coffee and cocoa producers, processors.
If Ugandan traders want to get rich at some point from agribusiness, they must target the bigger international markets – this can only be done by ensuring consistency in quality and quantity” said Ambassador Pacifici.
The grant for a project – the European Union-East African Community Market Access (MARKUP) – is part of a $40 million regional project aimed at strengthening the value chain and EU market access for strategic export-oriented crops.
Amb. Pacifici said that the MARKUP will also boost regional trade and help increase commodity production as well as open up more market for East African produce.
“MARKUP supports Uganda’s and East African Community’s regional integration agenda.
It aims to improve the competitiveness of SMEs based in EAC countries and assist them in increasing productivity, adding value and benefiting from preferential market access opportunities.
With growing demand in the EU for coffee and cocoa products, MARKUP will help create stronger market linkages between Europe and the EAC, and further contribute to job creation and sustainable investments in Uganda and the region,” said Pacifici.
Finance Minister, Mr. Kasaija said that the grant greatly facilitate implementation of more efficient-seeking measures to reduce trade barriers and provide quality assurance.
Additionally, the funds will also enhance SME export competitiveness and business promotion and in the long run improve livelihoods of coffee and cocoa dependent communities.
Uganda is a major coffee exporter to EU with the commodity exports valued at US$351 million contributing to 60% of all Ugandan exports to EU for the last decade.
Cocoa exports from Uganda to the EU have been on the rise hitting a high US$41 million since 2015.
However, with increasing global demand for the commodity, quality, consistent production and supply are vital for the global markets.
The bulk of Uganda’ coffee exports are raw beans with low value addition which does not heap a handsome return on the trade activities.
EU also accounts for over 60% of the world’s cocoa bean imports and more than 40% of the cocoa powder and butter import.