UGANDA – During the recently concluded National Coffee Dialogue on developing Uganda’s coffee value chain, the country’s Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja avowed that the Ugandan government is committed to investing in coffee value addition and transforming its economy.
For Uganda to achieve the coffee roadmap targets, Nabbanja said there is a need to transform the coffee sub-sector through the nine initiatives under the three pillars of demand and value addition, production, and enablers.
She added that since the launch of the 15-year coffee roadmap in 2017, the President of the country has been making a follow-up on its implementation.
The roadmap seeks to increase Uganda’s coffee production from the current 4.7 million bags to 20 million bags in 2030, and triple the income of 1.2 million smallholder coffee farmers.
Focusing on production, the goal entails executing a rehabilitation and renovation (R&R) program that upgrades about 400 thousand smallholder coffee farms, or about one-quarter of the total number of coffee farms in Uganda
From a public investment perspective, recommendations in the roadmap include revamping coffee research with increased funding and collaborative arrangements with other international coffee research bodies.
In value addition, good prospects are seen for private sector investments in washing stations, and in producing coffee roasts, both grounds and soluble, for the low-end markets in Uganda and East Africa.
According to Nabbanja, “This transformation will support Uganda’s socio-economic development through increased export earnings predicted at US$1.5 billion (Shs5.5 trillion) by 2025, improved livelihoods by over 1,800,000 people, increased financing and investments and a premium price for Uganda coffee due to strong branding.”
In addition, the government’s efforts to increase coffee production through Operation Wealth Creation and Uganda Coffee Development Authority over the last decade have generated significant successes, she pointed out.
Uganda’s coffee exports grew from 2 million 60kg bags in Financial Year 2005/2006 to 8 million bags in Financial Year 2021/22. In value terms, coffee contributed 22% of all export earnings, estimated at 862 million US dollars in the Financial Year 2021/22.
Uganda is currently ranked number seven among the largest coffee producers and ranked number three globally in terms of the best coffee quality.
President Museveni, in a letter dated 2nd October 2022, entitled ‘organizing Uganda’s coffee value chain’, raised several questions on the coffee sector, especially regarding coffee value addition, industrial production, and trade implications.
He wants his country to move to the next level by attracting investment to establish processing capabilities aimed at value addition in the country rather than exporting unprocessed coffee beans to consumer nations.
coffee can rescue many of us from poverty,” Justine Kasule Lumumba, the Minister, Office of the Prime Minister (General Duties), said, adding that even those with one acre can get out of poverty if they practice what UCDA teaches them.
“I also want you to put more pressure on the government. As it is bringing out programs for irrigation, do we take coffee as a priority? We need water on the farms,” she concluded.