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6th September 2023, Kampala – The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Uganda Coffee Federation have today released the final scores of the Best of the Pearl Robusta Competition 2023 with Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative (ACPCU) and Zigoti Coffee as winners. 

Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative topped the Natural Coffee category with a cupping score of 86.25 and the washed coffee category with a cupping score of 83.5. Zigoti Coffee won the Honey Coffee category with a cupping score of 85.5. These are the best robusta coffees for 2023 and will be showcased to coffee buyers globally.

The competition, organised by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Uganda Coffee Federation in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets Activity, run from 29th August – 1st September 2023 at the UCDA Coffee Quality Laboratory. This annual competition helps to identify high-quality producers.

Thirty-six samples of Robusta coffees were cupped, graded, and analysed by a panel of qualified and experienced local judges led by Brenda K Mangeni, the Head Judge, and Clare Rwakatogoro, Veronica Najjemba, Fidel Bakomeza, and Jacob Baterierega. The judges used the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) Fine Robusta score sheet and protocols to identify and select the best Robusta coffees from across Uganda. 

Zigoti's honey coffee profile was Rasin, Cocoa, Black Currants, Winey, Vanilla, and Coffee Blossom. ACPCU's natural coffee profile was Coffee Blossom, Mixed Berries, Winey, Raisin, and Tangerine. ACPCU's honey coffee profile was Coffee Blossom, Butter, Chocolate, Honey, Mango Nectar and Hints Of Berries. 

Uganda is the birthplace of Robusta coffee. With increased coffee quality comes higher earnings for farmers and the country. 

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Call For Applications Under Matching Grant Scheme To Promote Sustainable Production Of Coffee and Cocoa

The Government of Uganda through Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is implementing the Coffee and Cocoa Development Project (CoCoDEV) under Inclusive Green Economy Uptake (GreenUp) Financing Agreement of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

UCDA will utilize part of the funds under CoCoDEV project to implement a matching grants scheme to support farmers to establish production units of coffee and cocoa.

The objective of the Matching Grant Scheme (MGS) is to stimulate and promote sustainable commercial- production and productivity in the coffee and cocoa value chain.

Deadline for submission of applications is 30th September 2023.

Eligibility criteria: To be considered for funding, the applicant must:

1. Be an individual commercial coffee/cocoa farmer, registered private entity, coffee/cocoa cooperative, coffee/cocoa association, coffee /cocoa Community Business Organization/communal group.

2. Be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the grant.

3. All applicants should be 18 years and above.

4. Must possess a land suitable for coffee/cocoa production of minimum 10 acres (4 hectares)

5. Legal land ownership/user rights. Land must be free from encumbrances and conflicts

6. Must possess land within the eligible districts

7. Must be willing to use own funds for initial investment in establishment of coffee/cocoa farms.

Eligible Activities: The funding will support the following production related activities include:

1. Procurement of planting materials (seeds, seedlings, clonal cuttings)

2. Carrying out good agricultural practices including climate change adaptation measures (shade trees seedlings and banana suckers)

3. Fertilizers (plant nutrition)

4. Pests, disease and weed management measures (pesticides, fungicides & herbicides)

Click here to download the form


View Answers to the Frequently Asked Questions


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EU pledges continued support to Coffee, Cocoa Sub-sectors

The Deputy Director General, International Partnerships at the European Commission, Myriam Ferran, has pledged continued support to Uganda in the coffee and cocoa sub-sectors.

Ferran made the remarks during a visit to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) laboratory in March together with Ambassador Jan Sadek, Head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, Caroline Adriaensen, Head of Cooperation and Sofian Dahmani from the EC International Partnerships Directorate. The visit was important in kick-starting strengthened cooperation between the European Union and UCDA in implementing the comprehensive value chains approach as part of the coffee and cocoa priority value chains for the Global Gateway in Uganda.

The European Union has been supporting the Ugandan coffee and cocoa value chains through two major projects implemented by UCDA over the past five years. The EU-EAC Market Access Programme (MARKUP) worth EUR 3.638.000 and the Coffee and Cocoa Value Chain Development (CoCoDev) Project in Uganda worth EUR 8 million (UGX 32.8bn) have supported the value chain development from smallholder farmers to certification, among other areas. The implementing period for MARKUP was 2018 to 2021 (with a second phase in the pipeline) while that for CoCoDev is 2022 to 2026.

During the visit, Ferran commended UCDA’s efforts in the coffee and cocoa sub-sectors and called on the Authority to involve refugee-hosting communities in coffee production. This, according to Ferran, would help to improve the lives of refugees and contribute to the inclusive growth of the coffee industry. Sixty-five percent of Uganda’s coffee exports go to the EU, placing the country in a position to compete favorably with other producing countries.

The team was hosted by UCDA’s Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, who took them through a coffee cup-tasting session to appreciate the uniqueness of Uganda’s coffee. Also on display were Ugandan cocoa and cocoa products.

Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, applauded the EU for the financial support, which, he said, is consistent with the Authority’s desire to strengthen cooperation with the EU in order to support the expansion of the coffee and cocoa sub-sectors.

“We have been supporting the private sector to improve their coffee and cocoa standards. [The CoCoDev] project will continue supporting the coffee and cocoa sub-sectors by focusing on commercialisation and providing grants to expand production,” said Dr. Iyamulemye.

Dr. Iyamulemye added that the EU support is also going to improve the cocoa regulatory framework. “For the first time, we are going to have standards for cocoa, and this will enable producers to access even more markets so that they can continue fetching premium prices,” he said.

The European Union’s support of the coffee and cocoa sub-sectors in Uganda is vital for the country’s economic growth. Uganda is known for its high-quality coffee beans and the EU’s continued support will enable the country to increase its production and expand its market reach.

Uganda is the leading exporter of coffee in Africa and the 7th largest producer in the world. With 65% of the coffee exported to the European Union, it is clear that this is an important market for Uganda.

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Supporting Research: NaCORI Arabica, cocoa varieties developed with support from MARKUP offer hope to farmers.

The National Coffee Research Institute (NACORI) has developed new high-yielding and disease-resistant Arabica varieties that will make Ugandan farmers more competitive at the local and global levels once they are released on the market. The varieties were developed with support from the European Union (EU) under the European Union – East African Community Market Access Upgrade Programme (EU-EAC MARKUP).

“Uganda has been lagging behind in development of new Arabica varieties and this is going to be a landmark for the farmers and the sector,” Dr. Pascal Musoli, a plant breeder and top coffee and cocoa researcher at NACORI revealed.

This was during a meeting with members of the National Steering Committees, who visited the institute located at Kituuza, Mukono to learn how EU-EAC MARKUP has supported Ugandan scientists to carry out research and develop coffee and cocoa varieties to increase production and productivity. The lessons and good practices will be adopted by partner states to help unlock trade and investment opportunities in EAC.

Dr. Musooli noted that the support they received from MARKUP enabled NACORI scientists develop new Arabica varieties whose performance is above 200% of the old types. The new Arabica varieties are also resistant to diseases such as leaf rust and coffee berry disease compared to old varieties.

Under the MARKUP project, NaCORI received support to evaluate and release improved Arabica coffee varieties and carry out preliminary evaluation of cocoa clones. The mandate of NaCORI is to carry out research on coffee and cocoa in Uganda.

All activities related to research under the MARKUP project are implemented by NaCORI under the supervision of UCDA. The MARKUP project supported NaCORI to carry out research in four locations: Zeu in Zombo district, Kyenjojo, Kabale, and Buginyanya (Elgon region).

Dr. Musooli noted that while research was already ongoing into development of new varieties, the funds from MARKUP came at a critical time and made a big difference. According to Dr. Musooli, the new varieties performed above 200% in comparison to the old types and once released to farmers, they will help increase production and productivity for
farmers enabling them earn more.


The varieties are resistant to leaf rust and coffee berry disease which is going to reduce the burden on farmers to purchase chemicals to control diseases and pests.

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Ambassador Nsababera tips coffee exporters on access to China’s lucrative market

The Consular General of the Republic of Uganda in Guangzhou, Ambassador Judith Nsababera has tipped Ugandan coffee exporters, farmers, cooperatives and roasters on how to access the Chinese market.

This was during a discussion on the opportunities for export of Uganda coffee to China held at Serena Hotel, Kampala last week.

Ambassador Nsababera appealed to the coffee stakeholders to do due diligence on the Chinese companies they intend to deal with to avoid being disappointed.

She also emphasized the need for Ugandans to partner with local traders as this will assist in building trust between them and potential business partners.

“The competition for coffee in China is fierce. You need to have a local partner in China and you need to have your product readily available. The Chinese want to see, feel and touch the product you are selling [before they make any commitments],” Ambassador Nsababera said, pledging to support the coffee stakeholders who plan to do business in China.

UCDA Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, said there are 72 registered coffee exporters whose details and credentials have been captured and are able to export to China.

Dr. Iyamulemye said the Authority is engaging digital platforms in China to be able to upload Ugandan products. Government will pay the required subscriptions and he called on stakeholders to make use of such platforms.

To address the issue of quality and trust, Dr. Iyamulemye said UCDA and Ugandan coffee players can do cupping sessions in China, adding that the list of companies that have excelled in the annual Best of the Pearl competitions can be shared with Chinese coffee buyers for purposes of building trust and quality assurance.

He said the Best of the Pearl competitions have given Ugandan coffee great visibility around the world.

Responding to the issues raised about inadequate funding, Dr. Iyamulemye said the Authority had attempted to have a Coffee Fund but this was dropped because the government already has the Consolidated Fund. However, he appealed to sector players to brainstorm on innovative ways of identifying sources of funding.

Aggrey Tumuhaire, an exporter with experience in the Chinese market told the meeting that the major challenge in China for business persons is understanding the market, adding that it is important to have brand awareness for a distributor to accept your product.

 According to Tumuhaire, the Chinese deal with people they trust and buy products they can physically see.

Nelson Tugume, the CEO of Inspire Africa, a coffee company exporting coffee to various markets, noted that while it is important to look at exports and the international markets, it is also important to add value for better prices for the farmer.

Tugume suggested the hydrogen technology which he says once it is in place and the coffee roasted, the product can take up to 12 months on the shelves without losing its quality.

He highlighted the need to grow domestic coffee consumption and called for affordable financing. The other challenges raised during the discussion was the issue of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

While giving a vote of thanks to the Ambassador, the Executive Director of the Agribusiness Development Centre (ADC), Josephine Mukumbya, said the sector needs a holistic approach to the challenges it is facing. For example, she said, financing alone may not address all the issues around the value chain.

Coffee exports to China have been increasing over the years. For instance, in 2018, Uganda exported 33,000 bags of coffee to China, 66,000 bags in 2019 and 83,000 bags in 2020.


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President Museveni invites Vietnamese to invest in Uganda’s coffee sub sector

The first-ever trade event between Uganda and Vietnam provided a unique platform to accelerate trade, bilateral relationships and most importantly gave Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) a platform to showcase the country’s coffee and cocoa to Vietnamese investors.

The event, the Uganda Vietnam Business Summit, was held on 25th November 2022 at the Vietnam Convention Center in Hanoi. It was organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought to unlock investment and trade opportunities between the two countries.

In his address at the summit, His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni called on Vietnam to invest in value addition of coffee and other agricultural products, minerals and products such as cars, computers and machines. Museveni assured the investors that Uganda has the best investment environment with readily available raw materials and skilled manpower.

Coffee research

Uganda is set to benefit from partnering with the largest producer of Robusta coffee in the world after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support collaboration and knowledge transfer on coffee production between the two countries.

On 24th November 2022, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries signed the MoU with the government of the socialist republic of Vietnam represented by the Vietnam Coffee Coordination Board (VCCB).

The MoU will enable collaboration between Uganda and Vietnam to enhance coffee production and productivity, marketing, research in climate change and environment, research on varieties and extension services and value addition along the coffee value chain. Vietnam ranks as the largest producer of Robusta coffee with a production of 31.59 million 60kg bags in 2021/2022.

Coffee sub sector open to investment

Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director, UCDA in a panel discussion on value addition in agribusiness highlighted the opportunities available to investors of coffee in Uganda including preferential markets in the East African Community (EAC), African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the trade privileges from China, United Kingdom and the European Union markets for Uganda coffee products.

President Yoweri Museveni and Vietnamese officials at the UCDA exhibition booth

Dr. Iyamulemye highlighted investment opportunities in the export of green and roasted coffee, supply of coffee machinery, equipment, pesticides and fertilizers; production of coffee machinery, equipment, pesticides and fertilizers; production of packaging material such as gunny bags for the green coffee and pouches (Kraft or Matte) for roasted coffee; investment in washing stations that will enable production of fine and specialty coffee; soluble coffee production and investment in coffee roasteries and coffee shops.

Other panelists included Dr. Patience Rwamigisha, Assistant Commissioner Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Prince Bobby Juuko Kimbugwe, CEO Pure Grow Africa, who represented the private sector.

As UCDA works towards achieving the Presidential directive of 20 million 60kg bags of coffee by 2030 it is important to benchmark with such big producers on strategies that can be
used to accelerate production from the current 8.4 million bags.


Discussions at the summit focused on several priority sectors including agriculture with focus on coffee, forestry, aquaculture, grains, agricultural research, fertilizers, pesticides, dairy and tea. Other broad sectors include ICT, tourism, industry, trade, gas and minerals.

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