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Uganda reaches record coffee exports levels, aims to become Africa’s largest producer

Uganda coffee exports

MILAN — Uganda strengthened its position as Africa’s largest coffee exporter with a record volume of 5.06 million bags in the financial year that ended on June 30, ministry of finance figures showed last week. Export earnings also reached an all-time new level of US$494 million. In FY 2018/19, Uganda exported 4.18 million bags worth US $416 million compared.

The ministry said the year 2020 could see Uganda, already Africa’s largest coffee exporter, overtaking Ethiopia as the continent’s largest coffee producer.

The Uganda Coffee Roadmap, which responds to a directive issued by the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in 2014, aims to accelerate coffee production from the then 3.5 million 60kg bags to 20 million bags of green coffee by the year 2025.

In other news, Uganda has passed a new law aimed at regulating coffee growing to help improve the quality of beans for its key export commodity.

The Bill seeks to repeal and replace the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Act, Cap. 325 enacted 29 years ago, which doesn’t meet the current needs and long-term goals of farmers or Government.

The current law only covers off-farm activities of marketing and processing, leaving on-farm activities like planting materials, nurseries, harvesting and post harvesting handling outside the scope of the law.

The Bill among others, will require all coffee farmers to register at no cost to them. The registration will entail capturing details of the size of land, number of coffee trees, particulars of a farmer, coffee buyers, sellers and nursery bed operators.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) will use the information compiled to facilitate the provision of services to coffee farmers individually or through farmer groups.

These services include seed and seed garden management, good agricultural practices, disease and pest management control, and harvest and post-harvest handling among others.

The Bill also seeks to budget and plan for services that are critical for coffee production and productivity. Furthermore, it addresses developments, advances and challenges that have emerged in coffee research and extension services, farmer organisations and climate change.