December 14, 2018—The European Union (EU) is providing Uganda’s coffee sector with a financial package to help increase market access to the largest and most lucrative markets in the world. The EU accounts for 30 pc of annual global coffee consumption.
Referring to the UGX15.6 billion (euro 3.7 million, $4.1 million) package Uganda’s, finance minister, Mati Kasaija said, “This intervention will in return help improve the livelihood of the communities and business in the country and the region at large.”
The money comes as part of the East African Community-EU Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP) to help traders in coffee and the cocoa sector access EU markets and other inter-regional markets.
Amb. Attilio Pacifici, the EU Head of Delegation in Uganda said the program will support small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the country to gain better access to markets in the EU and increase regional trade by enhancing the competitiveness of the coffee and cocoa exports.
Shortly after signing the deal with Amb. Pacifici on Thursday, Kasaija said the grant will help Uganda in implement a range of efficient-seeking measures to reduce on trade barriers and provide quality assurance, enhance SME export competitiveness and business promotion.
Amb. Pacifici said Uganda remains one of the biggest coffee exporters to the EU, amounting to 60% of all Ugandan exports to EU for the last 10 years. During 2017 total exports were just over euro 300 million or $350 million. However the bulk of Uganda’s coffee exports are raw beans with most of the blending and value addition done in Europe, specifically in Germany. Bemen and Hamburg are leading centres for the business.
The Ambassador said one of the challenges that limits developing countries from exporting locally is the quality and consistent production and supply which are very crucial for the global markets. “This grant is aimed at value chain addition for coffee and cocoa producers, processors. If Ugandan traders want to get rich at some point from agribusiness, they must target the bigger international markets. This can only be done by ensuring consistence in quality and quantity” he said.
Kasaija assured the Amb. Pacifici the grant will be put to proper use in accordance with the terms of the agreement. “We will furnish the Delegation of the EU with information and data concerning the progress of the implementation of the project through regular consultation with the team,” he said.
The Ambassador in turn reassured Kasaija the agreement will ensure Uganda continues to enjoy duty-free/quota- free access to EU market in future due to its current status in 33 African Least Developed Countries (LDCs).