Helen Adoa, the Minister in charge of Fisheries officiating at the Uganda Coffee Day held in Mbale today
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has said that Uganda has not exited the International Coffee Organization.
Helen Adoa, the Minister in charge of Fisheries at the MAAIF made the revelation during the celebration to mark the Uganda Coffee Day held Thursday in Mbale.
“There have been reports of Uganda leaving International Coffee Organization. Allow me to set a record straight; Uganda has not exited the International Coffee Organization,” Adoa said, clarifying that: “Rather, the Uganda government is renegotiating terms of International Coffee Agreement 2007.”
Adoa gave stakeholders along the coffee value chain assurance that coffee trade won’t be affected by these reports.
“Let me also reassure all our stakeholders that coffee trade will not be affected by this in any way,” she noted.
But speaking about the choice of Mbale and Elgon region as the host of this year’s celebration, she said: “We are here (Mbale/Elgon) not only because it is the home to the great Arabica coffee but also because it is a major tourist destination. The Mt. Elgon is characterized by well-known cultures of the Bagisu including the Imbalu, the Sebei have a unique culture. They have produced the best long distance runners in this country and have the famous Siipi falls that have given a name to some of our grate Arabica coffee.”
On the theme, ‘A Celebration of Arabica and Mt Elgon Coffees”, Adoa said the theme is not only relevant but also significant for it strives to add value to the region’s agricultural products including coffee and agro-industrialization program of National Development Plan III as well as NRM manifesto 2021-2026.
According to Adoa, the Mt Elgon region has embraced export of sustainable and highly differentiable coffees which she said fetch high premium prices for farmers.
This, she said, will ensure profitability, equity, competitiveness and sustainability of the coffee sector.
“The global trade today is for consumers who are keen on what they consume, where it is produced, how it is marketed and how it is distributed. They are willing to pay a premium as long as the coffee has been produced in a sustainable way closely following the 3 dimensions of social, economic and environmental and therefore, getting it audited and certified Arabica coffee from Mt. Elgon satisfies this,” she said.
Adoa, however, challenged farmers to join cooperatives for easy sourcing of market and support.
“I wish to challenge farmers who have not joined farmers groups or cooperatives and those who have not yet identified market and what to do early as possible to do so. We have in place an enabling environment inform of policies and strategies as well as government’s will to support cooperatives even on satisfaction course,” she noted.
The minister, also a Serere Woman Member of Parliament described Coffee as a strategic commodity in the agro-industrialization agenda under NDP III due to its potential in providing highly needed foreign exchange as well as a social balance since most of households derive their livelihoods on Mt Elgon and Sebei region. With the new coffee law in place, Adoa says government is committed to transforming coffee sector.
On the recently assented to National Coffee Act No. 17/2021 which she says provides for UCDA to promote, oversee and regulate all on farm and off farm activities along coffee value chain (including promoting and supporting value addition), Adoa says that the act promote and support primary processing of coffee at coffee farms, bulking and marketing of coffee at coffee farms or through farmers associations, roasting and packing of coffee, building the capacity of coffee brewers, roasters and facilitating increased export of value added coffee products and also provides the promotion of domestic consumption.
Adoa appealed to all coffee stakeholders to ensure that the great strides “we have made leads to even greater accomplishments in the coffee industry including meeting the target of producing 20 million bags of coffee by 2025 and increasing the proportion of sustainable especially certified coffees to the total of export grades”
“The opportunities in the coffee sector are immense, coffee points of sale, value chain including coffee nursery operations, farming, trade, export, primary and secondary processing, coffee brewing and promotion of domestic coffee consumption,” she said.
The Minister reemphasized the ministry’s pledge to transform the coffee sector “into a vibrant, profitable and sustainable one that engages stakeholders, upholds quality, standards in the coffee value chain and penetrate niche market abroad.”