By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Some lawmakers have raised concern over the looming blacklisting of Uganda’s coffee on the European Union market if a national system isn’t put in place to ensure all farmers are not growing coffee on deforested lands.
Workers Member of Parliament, Abdul Byakatonda tasked the Government to update Parliament on Uganda’s preparedness to save coffee from being locked out of the international market due to failure to fulfill the latest requirements set by the European Union.
”In December 2022, the European Union Parliament passed a resolution barring products that are cultivated from deforestation zones from entering their market. Apparently, our coffee is affected and the European Union consumes 60 percent of the coffee grown in Uganda. What is required is that we form a national coffee traceability system” Byakatonda said.
”The formation of this Committee requires UGX 35 billion and they should do the mapping of all coffee zone areas in the country. We are left with 12 months and we shall be no more, we shall not be able to access that market, so I beg that the Government treats this matter with urgency”, he added.
Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja assured Parliament that the issue will be handled during the rationalization of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) which is proposed to revert back to the Ministry of Agriculture.
”We are handling rationalization and I know the Government is handling this matter where we are having UCDA rationalized. I don’t know whether what he is proposing can be handled after rationalization. We shall have to study the matter. We shall continue looking for all opportunities across the globe markets and have our coffee across the world” Nabbanja noted.
In January 2023, Janet Okori-Moe, Chairperson, Parliament’s Agriculture Committee while appearing before the Budget Committee to present the report for the agricultural sector on the 2024/25 national budget framework paper, indicated the need by the Government to provide UGX 35 billion on the installation of a coffee traceability system which is intended to monitor the quality of coffee produced in Uganda.
According to Okori-Moe, the UCDA is seeking to establish a national traceability system in order to comply with regulations by the European Union that bars the production of agriculture products like coffee from deforested areas.
The coffee traceability system will be used to register coffee value chain actors (farmers, nursery operators, processors, roasters and exporters) with UCDA seeking for UGX 35 billion for the establishment of this system, although, there was no single penny availed in the 2024/24 budget for this expenditure.
The development comes at the time UCDA in its monthly report for December 2023, indicated that in 2023 coffee exports totaled 6.12 million bags worth $965.14 million (about UGX 3.678 trillion) compared to 5.63 million bags worth $860.45 million (about UGX 3.278 trillion) earned in 2022.
UCDA also highlighted the destinations of Uganda’s coffee exports during the month of December 2023, where it indicated that Europe remained the main destination for Uganda’s coffees with a 67 percent imports share, slightly lower than 68 percent in November 2023.
In Europe, the report indicates that Italy maintained the highest market share of 39.45 percent of the coffee exported from Uganda and it is followed by; India, 12.05 percent; Germany, 11.47 percent; Morocco 6.12 percent and Spain 5.96 percent.
Coffee exports to African countries amounted to 56,253 bags, accounting for a market share of 14 percent with the main destinations being; Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya.