The Agribusiness Initiative Trust (aBi) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation donated equipment worth $1.5 billion towards coffee sub-sector to facilitate improved operations of the foreign exchange earner of the country. Coffee production is a crucial economic activity, reaping huge benefits for both coffee growers and the government.
The equipment which included trucks, motorcycles, scale meters, laptop computers, furniture and moisture meters will seek to enhance production and quality of speciality eco-friendly coffee as well as boosting incomes of more than 25,000 small-scale coffee farmers.
During the handover ceremony, the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe), executive director Joseph Nkandu, urged the Parliament and stakeholders to invest in both short and long-term goals to see the desired objectives for the sector achieved. There is a need for coming together to address the challenges facing the industry and how to move forward.
Addressing coffee growers who had turned up for the grand occasion, Mr Nkandu remarked, “We must work together and seek interventions where possible to create business [coffee production] continuity. We must all seek ways through which we can help to grow the coffee sub-sector into a sustainable business.”
Coffee growing is a source of livelihood to many Ugandans in the eastern and western part of the country with over 1.5 million households depending on the cash crop. The coffee sector has massive potential to transform the economic outlook of the country in the future.
There may be some hesitancy in investing in the country with the nation’s Ease of Doing Business rankings slipping in the latest World Bank report. Uganda, like most East African Community (EAC) countries, has experienced shaky economic times resulting in the slip in global rankings. Uganda dropped five places in the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, falling from position 122 in 2017 to 127 in 2019.
However, the government is pursuing strategies to better the business environment as well as attract more investors.
Uganda hopes to export at least 20 million bags of coffee in the next two years, a milestone that will boost its export revenue. Investment needed is to increase productivity as well as the quality of the coffee. Currently, Rwanda is giving its neighbouring countries – Kenya and Uganda – a run for their money as it produces one of the world’s best coffee.
Rwanda beat Brazil and other South American countries in producing the best coffee quality, with the country also proving to be competitive in the global market.
Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), ensured coffee production in the country remains at par with the global competition. The government agency seeks to find new markets for the commodity, widening its dominance, especially in the European market.