Andrew Ockenden (C), the Director Development at the British High Commission, UCDA boss Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira (2nd R) and Anne Babinaga (R), the Minister Counsellor at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a group photo after the coffee stakeholders meeting
Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is working with the British High Commission in Uganda and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate and promote the export of Ugandan processed coffee to the United Kingdom (UK).
To achieve this, UCDA last week held a breakfast meeting at Serena Hotel where coffee roasters, processors and exporters discussed opportunities for Ugandan speciality coffee in the UK market.
Speaking at the event, Andrew Ockenden, the Director Development at the British High Commission said he found Ugandan coffee “fantastic” after drinking it yet it’s not common in UK supermarkets.
He noted that more needs to be told about the quality of Ugandan coffee.
Ockenden revealed that together with Uganda High Commission in London and UCDA, they will host a cupping competition/event in the UK where people will get an opportunity to taste the quality of Ugandan coffee. The competition will start with UCDA organizing the event locally and the winners (best coffee) will represent Uganda in London.
“We sought of ways on how to tell people that Uganda has the best coffee; the cupping event is the best way to do it. It will raise awareness about Ugandan coffee,” Ockenden said, adding that the event will be amplified on various social media platforms.
Speaking at the same event, UCDA Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira said coffee remains a top priority crop for Uganda’s development, noting that the crop is Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner after gold.
However, unlike gold, coffee touches millions of lives.
Iyamulemye added that the National Coffee Road Map articulates the importance of demand and value addition by building structured demand through country-to-country deals, branding Uganda coffee and supporting local coffee business for value addition.
He noted that the UK market is critical as Uganda moves towards attaining the Coffee Road Map target of 20m 60kg bags by 2025. Uganda’s coffee exports have experienced a boom not seen in the last 30 years, he said.
“Coffee exports hit an all-time high in March 2021 as 572,839 60kg bags were exported in a single month, the highest in the past 30 years,” Iyamulemye said, adding that Uganda’s coffee is ranked 3rd best in the world in terms of quality after Ethiopia and Kenya.
“Deliberate efforts targeting emerging markets in China, Middle East and North Africa are being taken,” he said.
He urged coffee exporters seeking to export coffee to UK to get more information on how to access the market via the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) website.
He also urged coffee processors and exporters to participate in the upcoming UCDA cupping event.
Anne Babinaga, the Minister Counsellor at Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Ministry supports local producers at policy and regulatory level.
She added that the Commercial Diplomacy Side of Foreign Affairs Ministry is to find new markets for Ugandan products. Babinaga said coffee exporters can take advantage of flights of Uganda Airlines to the UK which are set to start before the end of this month.
“We have secured slots at the Heathrow Airport. This will make our trade with UK easier,” Babinaga said, adding that the plane will have capacity to carry 21 tonnes wherever it goes to UK.
“It would be good if all the 21 tonnes on the Uganda Airlines aircraft is coffee,” she said.