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Coffee Exports: EU Commits To Help Uganda Comply With Deforestation Requirements

Coffee ready for export. EU buys over 60% of Uganda’s coffee exports

The European Union officials have explained that the impending ban by Europe on coffee produced in deforested areas starting next year, has nothing to do with politics or suffocating Uganda.

Amb Jan Sadek, Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda explained that a good environment is a human right and that EU citizens have decided to contribute to the protection of the environment globally.

He added that these regulations target all coffee producing countries in Africa and globally, not just Uganda.

He was speaking at the closure of the tree-day Uganda-European Union Business Forum which ended with promises from both sides to work towards improved economic and business relations.

The EU is Uganda’s largest single market for coffee taking more than half of the product. Sadek said for this reason, they are not abandoning Uganda but will help in ensuring that the country gets the capacity to comply with the requirements before the deadline.

Caroline Adriansen, the Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation, says they have already been in dialogue with the Ugandan authorities on how to ensure a smooth implementation process without disrupting the exports.

She said they have set aside resources to work with all players in the coffee value chain, including farmers, processors and exporters ensure that the sector adheres.

The announcement of the resignations drew concerns that the Uganda government and the private sector might not have the financial and technical capacity to put in place the required measures, including surveillance, traceability and due diligence among others.

State Minister for Privatisation and Investments, Evelyn Anite says that the government agencies responsible have been in the process towards meeting the requirements.

She says that it comes at the time when the country is enhancing efforts to restore the forest cover through prevention of destruction of forests and also replanting.

She says, therefore that there will be no problem meeting the deadline.

The three-day event saw deals worth about 200 million euro made, out of which, projects worth 14 million are already in the pipeline.

The EU Commission, state officials and representatives of agencies described the 3rd Forum a success.

In his remarks at the event, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni spoke against what he called “mixing politics with business” by the western developed countries, in reference to the trade sanctions by some on Uganda and other African countries over alleged human rights abuses.

In the 200 million euro investment projects announced by the EU at the Forum, was a 5 million euro project on human rights in business and investments.

“The “Advancing Respect for Business and Human Rights in Uganda” project aims to reduce human rights abuses in Ugandans businesses, particularly those affecting women, through awareness-raising, civil society advocacy and institutional capacity enhancement,” says the official EU statement on the facility.

To allay fears and assure that this is not in relation to the president’s concern, Amb Sadek, explained that the project is aimed at investors to do the right things and avoid human rights violations.

This was also echoed by Adriansen, who said that there are many cases of human rights abuses in businesses including land grabbing, under-remuneration and others, and that it does not matter whether a business is European or Ugandan.

-URN

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