UGANDA – Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has officially launched the US$3.94m East African Community Market Access Upgrade Project (EACMARKUP), funded by the European Union.

EACMARKUP seek to support six companies in the coffee and cocoa sector to bolster their operations by extending focus along the value chain.

The companies are; UGACOF Ltd, New Bukumbi Coffee Processors Limited, Uganda Coffee Farmers’ Alliance, Rubanga Cooperative Union operating in the coffee industry; Ainea and Sons Company and Outspan Agric in cocoa sector.

The beneficiaries were selected from a pool of 35 organizations that had submitted their proposals of interest and went through vetting.

“We got a lot of proposals of interest of up to 35 and then those were assessed and evaluated based on the guidelines set and came up with 12 beneficiaries.

“Then the 12 were further reduced to six because of funds that were available and based on the criteria. That’s how we arrived at the last 6 beneficiaries,” said Gordon Katwirenabo, the National Program Coordinator, MARKUP.

The overall objective of the project is to improve market access for Uganda’s coffee and cocoa in the EU, EAC and afro-Caribbean countries.

EACMARKUP is also aimed at improving production and productivity and managing post-harvest losses in the coffee and cocoa value chains across the country.

The funds were allocated after the authority scrutinized the current issues affecting the coffee and cocoa value chains which include lack of quality planting materials, post-harvest losses and access to finance.

To this end, the chosen six companies will work towards tackling the issues with the allocated funding.

UCDA Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, says this will go a long way in creating jobs and improving inter-regional trade.

The Uganda coffee industry has been exhibiting growth in both volume and value since beginning of the year compounded by a positive trend in global coffee prices, high demand from international markets and newly planted coffee started yielding supported by favorable weather.

In the month of October, coffee exports in the country amounted to 486,534 60-kilo bags worth US$61.43 million, comprising of 426,148 bags of Robusta valued at US$49.47 million and 60,386 bags of Arabica valued at US$11.96 million.

According to reports by UCDA, this was an increase of 13.68% and 59.91% in total quantity and value respectively compared to the same month last year.

Its highest export record this year was in August when the country sold 700,990 bags worth US$ 75.09 million.

This was an increase of 34.89% and 63.06 % in quantity and value respectively compared to the same month last year.

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