The coffee industry in Uganda received a fresh jolt of energy as International Trade Centre (ITC), working with investors and funding from the Dutch government, updated the country’s National Export Strategy (NES), further enabling umbrella associations and farmer organizations to gain access to the European market.
Stakeholders from both the private and public sectors recommended changes to the NES and discussed results of the Netherlands Trust Fund Phase II (NTF II) Uganda programme on Tuesday 5 March at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Uganda. The goal of NTF II is to improve the livelihoods of producers by increasing productivity.
The latest data compiled by the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) show several new buyers in Europe, as well as several current buyers that have agreed to either buy more or pay more for NUCAFE’s coffee.
Mr Olivier Naray, project manager for ITC’s NTF II Uganda project, presented data showing that 17 farmer associations (FA) are now prepared for 4C verification, making them better equipped to assist producers and exporters in finding market opportunities in Europe. Forty FAs have been coached in trade finance and 38 business plans have been finalized by counsellors. The majority of the 42 consultants used were from developing countries.
Issues raised by stakeholders at the meeting included youth access to land, implementation of the National Coffee Policy and possible coordination with the National Coffee Steering Committee to execute the Coffee Export Strategy. Donors also mentioned the need to address overall quality standards through improvement of the post-harvest process and research breeding for quality.
Climate change was another topic of concern because exporters recognize it as a long-term problem, but do not see it as a threat in the short term. The lack of data on climate change-related issues such as disease, coffee wilt and lack of weather stations only exacerbates the problem. Stakeholders mentioned the need for the government to take steps to educate farmers on the impact of climate change.
The coffee industry supports one-eighth of Ugandans. It brought US $393 million into the country last year.