Coffee: Negotiate Better Terms on Global Market, Promote Local Consumption

By Dr Barnabas Taremwa B

Last week it was reported that Uganda had pulled out of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) after the expiry of the 2007 international coffee agreement.

In a statement dated February 2, 2022, the ICO notified all its members and other interested parties that Uganda had notified ICO of its intention not to join the extension of the International Coffee Agreement 2007.

However, the minister for agriculture Frank Tumwebaze clarified that Uganda is not fully out of the ICO but was renegotiating better terms.

Tumwebaze said the country is renegotiating the terms of the International Coffee Agreement 2007 to ensure it gets better terms as the leading coffee exporter in Africa and seventh in the world.

As a coffee farmer, I totally agree that we should aim for better terms for our coffee as a country on the international market. Coffee is currently the second leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda after gold.

According to the January 2022 report released by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Uganda’s earnings from coffee exports have exponentially increased by $ 198.5million (sh714.6b) from $520m (Sh1.87trillion) earned in 2020 to $718.5m (Sh2.58trillion) earned last year of 2021

The annual volume of Uganda’s coffee exports has increased from 5.4million bags exported in 2020 to 6.7million bags exported in 2021.

This is an impressive trend and a sign that if we do things right, the coffee sector will more than double the revenue generated currently.

But to move to the next level, we have to work on some of the challenges facing the coffee sector. 

The coffee sector should be improved in terms of value addition to ensure that we export more finished products from coffee.

This can only be possible if government and private sector players take deliberate measures to support coffee farmers and exporters in ensuring quality right from planting, harvesting and storage.

The country’s target of creating jobs for youth dealing with unemployment can be addressed if coffee is prioritized and farming in general.

Government should do more to ensure that we double the production capacity through supporting coffee farmers.

Also value addition is key if we are to earn more from coffee as a country. Coffee growing is a profitable venture if done well. It will take more effort and a lot of work to grow the market of our coffee on the global scene.

The regulator of the sector should intensify efforts to improve on the quality and empower farmers to engage in good coffee farming practices which will lead to good harvest.

Most importantly there is a need for deliberate efforts to grow local consumption. Only about 4 percent of coffee produced is consumed locally. In most coffee growing countries, local consumption is regarded as a big deal and campaigns are undertaken to ensure that local consumption of coffee is high.

The culture of coffee consumption should be promoted through sensitizing Ugandans on the benefits of consuming coffee. It has both health and commercial benefits. Currently the culture of local consumption of coffee is still low.  We need deliberate drives to sensitize Ugandans on the benefits of drinking coffee. 

Dr Barnabas Taremwa B

Chairman Rainbow Ranchers group of companies

The Writer is a passionate farmer and founder of Image Coffee.

The post Coffee: Negotiate Better Terms on Global Market, Promote Local Consumption first appeared on ChimpReports.

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