I am greatly honored to welcome all our readers to our new website as we celebrate a very important milestone - 25 years of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).
On the occasion of our jubilee, there is a set of people I want to thank. First, of course is the staff of UCDA present and past, for their great valuable contribution over the last 25 years. Some of the staff have served the authority with dedication and commitment since its establishment. These include Jane Nakandi, Moses Seremba, Mrs Phoebe Kazinduki, Peter Masai, Richard Kagimu, and Doreen Rose Rweihangwe. Their hard work and commitment would have been in vain if it were not for a set of extraordinary people with equally high aspirations, vision and commitment. In fact, they carried the hopes and dreams of millions of Ugandans and worked against all odds to make what seemed impossible, possible. I am referring to the first UCDA Board Chairman, the late Hon. Dr Israel Kibirige, as well as the former Board Chairmen - Francis Nagimesi, John Muganga, Paul Sempa Mugambwa, Eng. Fabian R. Tibeita, and Perez Bukumunhe. The first Managing Director Ernest Kakwano and his successors, Hon Tress Bucyanayandi and Henry Ngabirano have significantly contributed to a vibrant sector.
In a special way, I would like to thank the four-man team comprised of Mr William Naggaga, Dr Peter Ngategize, Mr Fred Kawuma and Mr James Serunjogi - the architects of the establishment of UCDA as a new fully-fledged authority to regulate the coffee sector.
UCDA is a shining example of the success of the economic reforms in Uganda. The agency has created over 100,000 plus high quality, high disposable income jobs along the coffee value chain, contributed more than $500 million a year in exports and raised the image of Uganda by earning many laurels abroad. It has trained the value chain actors including farmers, nursery operators, processors, traders, quality controllers, Q and R graders, roasters, baristas and café operators.
The Ministries of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MoTIC), of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and Bank of Uganda (BoU) are also recognised for their key roles in monetary and fiscal policies including setting prices for coffee exports in the early 1990s.
As we celebrate the UCDA silver jubilee, it is imperative to note the role it has played in the development of Uganda’s economy. The coffee sector has generated approximately 20-30% of our foreign exchange over the past years and contributes to the income of millions of rural households. Currently coffee is the third most important income earner after tourism and remittances from abroad and over 1.7 million families derive their livelihood from coffee.
UCDA has over the years, certified that coffee exported meets the standards that are stipulated by the relevant legal requirements as well as acceptable good practice internationally. This has been achieved through multi-pronged approaches such as issuance of certificates for the grade and quality of coffee; licensing of coffee roasters, processors and exporters; certification of coffee exports as well as researching, compiling and disseminating relevant data and information about coffee in Uganda.
We appreciate the contribution of the value chain actors including researchers, farmers, processors, and exporters, as well as the service providers and development partners.
Nonetheless, the coffee subsector faced many challenges including the volatility of the international market and the outbreak of pests and diseases notably the coffee wilt disease which nearly decimated the coffee industry, severely affecting coffee production and exports. UCDA management is commended for its robust measures that lead to the recovery from the low of 2 million bags in the early 2000s to the current 4 million bags.
After a half- century, we have a national coffee policy that will drive the industry in the coming years. In this regard, H. E. the President launched the Coffee Roadmap on 13 April 2017 as a transformative approach for accelerating coffee production. The roadmap was developed by UCDA and the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders during a Coffee Lab that lasted for four weeks. Through their dedication, knowledge and support, UCDA and PMDU designed the Coffee Roadmap, which charts the path to achieving 20 million bags of coffee production and an additional $1.5 billion in export earnings per year in the next five years.
I conclude by requesting for total commitment from the individuals and key institutions in the implementation of the coffee roadmap, including leadership from line ministries and organisations involved in specific transformative initiatives.
I once again congratulate the coffee fraternity and all Ugandans upon celebrating the silver jubilee anniversary of UCDA’s establishment and liberalisation of the coffee subsector, and look forward to seeing the sector flourish over the coming years.