The European Union (EU) has committed a $4.1 million financial package to boost Uganda’s coffee and cocoa industries.
The grant agreement sealed by Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and the EU ambassador to Uganda, Attilio
The grant for a project known as the European Union-East African Community Market Access, or MARKUP, is part of a $40 million regional project aimed at strengthening the value chain and EU market access for strategic export-oriented crops.
Commenting on the grant, EU Ambassador Pacifici said, “MARKUP supports Uganda’s and East African Community’s regional integration agenda. It aims to improve the competitiveness of SMEs based in EAC countries and assist them in increasing productivity, adding value and benefiting from preferential market access opportunities.”
“With growing demand in the EU for coffee and cocoa products, MARKUP will help create stronger market linkages between Europe and the EAC, and further contribute to job creation and sustainable investments in Uganda and the region.”
On his part, Kasaija commented, ” This intervention will in return help improve the livelihood of the communities and business in the country and the region at large.”
He added that the grant would help Uganda to implement a range of efficient-seeking measures to reduce trade barriers and provide quality assurance, enhance SME export competitiveness and business promotion.
The cocoa exports from Uganda to the EU have increased to $41 million since 2015. The sector has shown high potential for further development and the grant should help the industry be competitive.
EU also accounts for over 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa bean imports and more than 40 per cent of the cocoa powder and butter import.
Uganda is the most suitable cocoa growing country with agro-ecologic areas.
However, with increasing global demand for the commodity, quality, consistent production and supply are vital for the global markets.
The bulk of Uganda’s coffee exports are raw beans which with low-value addition does not heap a handsome return on investment for the trade activities.
The managing director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira, one of the agencies that will implement the project assured the proper utilisation of the financial package to achieve the desired results in the coffee and cocoa sector.