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Uganda Takes Steps to Meet EU Requirements On Coffee Exports

Dr. Gerald Kyalo, the Director Development Services at UCDA

Uganda through Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has adopted the fastest approach to ensure that the country’s coffee is deforestation-free and continues to access the European Union market in line with the new regulations.

On 5th December 2022, the European Parliament approved a regulation for deforestation-free products to ensure supply chains remain free from products that cause deforestation.

Under the Deforestation Regulation, EUDR, only products that are legal in the country of production and not linked to deforestation and forest-degradation after 31 December 2020 can be placed on the EU market. The regulation which takes effect on 1st January 2025 requires that exporters of commodities such as coffee, cocoa and their derivatives must submit specific documents to export to the EU market. The regulation sets specific criteria for products imported into and exported out of the EU market to be deforestation-free.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting for stakeholders at Mestil Hotel on Thursday, 22nd February 2024, Dr. Gerald Kyalo, the Director Development Services at UCDA, who represented the Authority’s Managing Director, said Uganda has developed a comprehensive action plan to meet the compliance requirements and a local task force chaired by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) will oversee its implementation, with stakeholders collaborating to align national policies, strengthen enforcement, and raise awareness among value chain actors.

Simultaneously, the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) compels companies to undertake mandatory due diligence to identify and address human rights abuses and environmental damage in their global value chains.

“Compliance with the EUDR and CS3D is vital for Uganda’s coffee industry as Europe accounts for over 60% of coffee exports from Uganda,” Kyalo said.

For EUDR, he said, all coffee entering the EU market must not be grown on a plot where a forest existed as of December 31st 2020.

“Coffee entering the EU Market must be compliant with EUDR starting 1st January 2025,” he said, noting that farmers intending to plant coffee should also be compliant with the EUDR requirements going forward.

Kyalo revealed that on 10th February 2024, UCDA partnered with JDE Peet’s and Enveritas to ensure that all Ugandan coffee is deforestation-free and compliant with the EUDR by the end of 2024.

“This is crucial since enforcement of the EUDR at European ports of entry will begin on 30th December 2024 for large companies and on 30th June 2025 for small companies,” he said, adding that in the short term, Uganda, with support from JDE Peet’s and Enveritas, has initiated a Territorial Approach to identify and remediate non-compliant coffee plots within the next few months, ensuring compliance by mid-2024.

In the long term, Kyalo said, the Uganda coffee sub-sector aims to establish a robust National Coffee Traceability System to support EUDR compliance reporting, streamline extension services to small-scale producers, and improve the coffee supply chain in light of the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CS3D) reporting requirements.

He noted that UCDA is also engaging the EU to demonstrate the country’s commitment to meet its regulations.

He added that UCDA will increasingly raise awareness on EUDR among the value chain actors.

‘Only 50 Polygons Are Non-Compliant’

Robert Nangatsa, the Extension Manager at UCDA, says the Territorial Approach (TA) intends to make a territory (country) compliant with EUDR as a whole.

He emphasizes that the approach is not a farmer registration system as no farmer data is collected. It is not a coffee traceability system either, he said.

The TA is based on the premises that; coffee production is not a main driver of deforestation. All coffee polygons (including non-compliant ones) can be identified using High Resolution (HR) maps and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once non-compliant plots are remediated, the territory (country) is compliant in its entirety.

Nangatsa said Uganda has 1.8 million coffee producers and according to preliminary mapping, only 50 polygons are non-compliant.

“The Government will develop a code of conduct on how remediation will take place,” he explained.

Robert Nangatsa, the Extension Manager at UCDA, addressing stakeholders

He revealed that a Geospatial Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System and Farmer Registration App, has been developed to empower coffee exporters to adhere to EUDR requirements.

“This innovative system is designed to capture geolocation data encompassing all production plots where coffee or related products are cultivated, including both polygonal data and comprehensive biodata of farmers,” Nangatsa said, adding that the National Coffee Act,2021 is in place and the draft coffee regulations which also incorporate the EUDR requirements have been developed.

According to Nangatsa, the Act provides for the establishment of a National Coffee Register (NCR) for coffee value chain actors.

“A NCA register will be a precursor to the creation of a National Traceability System (NTS) aligned with EUDR requirements. This register will assign unique identifiers and geolocations to all coffee farms,” he says.

Speaking at the same event, Moses Nyabila, the CEO of aBi Development, pledged to continue collaborating with UCDA and supporting the coffee sub-sector.

“There are livelihoods to be protected. The environment also needs protection. The two go together and must be protected,” Nyabila said, adding that 30% of their support goes to the coffee sub-sector.

He said this support will rise to over 60% in the next five years because they believe coffee has great potential to transform lives.


Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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