UGANDA – The Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) has predicted that world’s coffee consumption could hit 175 million bags and a vacuum of 30 million bags will be created.

Mr Rob Skidmore, the Chief Sector Competitiveness at IACO, in his presentation at a three day coffee symposium in Kampala, said that if the current coffee consumption trends continue, the coffee farmers will need to increase their output to sustain the market.

World coffee consumption in 2013 was at 145.8 million bags, and is growing consistently at around 2.5 per cent.

“An increase of 173.4 per cent was recorded between 1990 and 2012 meaning that the average annual growth rate of consumption during the period 1990 to 2012 was 4.7%.

Emerging markets are therefore expected to be a significant source of growth in world consumption over the next few years,” Mr Skidmore said.

IACO is an inter-governmental organisation established by 25 African coffee growing economies in 1960 when coffee export was at the peak in most of these countries.

Mr Fred Kawuma, the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO), secretary general asked the African governments, specifically Uganda to employ skilled extension workers in coffee growing areas if the 3.5 million people depending on the cash crop are to improve their incomes and sustain exports for the country.

Mr Kawuma, said, all African countries have been overtaken by Asia and South America in exporting coffee yet the latter were leading in the 1950s.

He attributed this to governments which adhered to the advice of the World Bank and abandoned their role of providing quality farm inputs and advisory services to farmers.

“Fifty four years ago, coffee was very important to Africa and governments then played their role of extending services to the farmers but Asian and South America countries are now leading,” Mr Kawuma, said at the 54th IACO conference in Kampala.

Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are the world’s top exporters.

The coffee symposium held early last week, was discussed under the theme ‘unlocking the potential of Africa’s coffee industry’, and it attracted a number of topics ranging from how to increase coffee in Uganda, the need for investment in the coffee value chain for job creation and good pricing, the need for ICT incorporation in coffee sector, how to manage diseases, soil mapping, climate change adaption and gender equity among others.

Mr Henry Ngabirano, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Managing Director, said that the coffee industry in Uganda is “stagnant but not declining” as some people would think. He said UCDA and the ministry of Agriculture have distributed a number of coffee trees to several farmers with the aim of increasing production.

Participants, highlighted little price information available to farmers, limited incentives, inadequate access to skilled labour, the need to revive of cooperatives, small processing plants with limited processing capacity (approx 20 tons per day), and price margins in consideration of transportation costs among others as challenges to the sector that need to be addressed.

About the coffee development authority
Established under the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Statute, 1991 (as amended in 1994), the objectives of UCDA are to:
•Promote, improve and monitor marketing of coffee with a view to optimising foreign exchange earnings and payments to the farmers.
•Control the quality of coffee to ensure that all coffee exported meets the standards stipulated by the contract between the seller and the buyer;
•Monitor the price of coffee to ensure no export contract for the sale of coffee is concluded at a price below the minimum price; among others.

November 26, 2014;