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Uganda decides two-year suspension of its membership from the ICO blaming unjust and outdated rules, the U.S. may be back

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MILAN – Uganda has announced a two-year suspension of its membership from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) in attempt to pressurise the organisation to address its concerns as a coffee producing country.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the state-run Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) wants the ICO and its agreement to do more with price volatility, climate change, and import tariffs.

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UCDA said that Uganda is also opposed to “unjust and outdated” ICO classification of coffee varieties in the international market, which only recognises Brazil and Colombia beans at the expense of coffee from Uganda and other countries.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority’s managing director, Mr Emmanuel Iyamulemye said: “Uganda does not support the two years’ extension of the International Coffee Agreement 2007, because Uganda’s concerns and interests have not been addressed in the new Agreement.

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He said that suspending membership for two years will give Uganda a chance to use the resources to further enhance the coffee sector and focus on the aspirations of Coffee Roadmap to increase production to 20 million bags by 2025/30.”

“Uganda needs unconditional market access that allows for export of value-added coffee, not only green coffee,” UCDA said in a statement.

“The new coffee agreement should have increased focus on value addition with protracted programmes that aim at transferring value to the farm gate.”

In September last year, Uganda filed a notice to the International Coffee Organisation of its intention not to join the extension of the agreement which took effect on February 2, 2022.

Uganda said it did not see the benefits from being a member and paying a subscription when it was not being helped.

The Executive Director of Ico issued a statement admitting that “due to the decision of the Government of Uganda not to agree with the extension of the International Coffee Agreement 2007 and the consequent withdrawal of Uganda from the Organization, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is no longer eligible to issue ICO Certificates of Origin. Any ICO Certificate of Origin issued by the UCDA dated after 1 February 2022 will not be valid.

The US may rejoin the Ico

The International Coffee Organization is talking with the U.S. about the possibility of the country rejoining the group, Bloomberg reported quoting Ico’s newly elected executive director Vanusia Nogueira. The U.S. quit the ICO in 2018.

“We are in talks with the Biden administration,” Nogueira said Friday in a telephone interview. Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

CIMBALI

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