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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Uganda’s coffee exports for FY2021/22 hit 6.26 million bags despite drought

JULY 14, 2022, KAMPALA, UGANDA - Coffee exports for 12 months (Financial year 2021/22) totaled 6.26 million bags worth US$ 862.28 million compared to 6.08 million bags worth US$ 559.16 million the previous year (Financial year 2020/21). This represents an increase of 3% and 54% in both quantity and value respectively, the UCDA June Coffee Report reveals (https://ugandacoffee.go.ug/file-download/download/public/82).

Uganda's coffee exports for the month of June amounted to 530,365 60-kilo bags of coffee valued at US$ 83.79 million. This comprised 444,197 bags of Robusta valued at US $60.98 million and 86,168 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 22.82. This was a decrease of 14% in quantity but an increase of 43% in value compared to the same month last year.

Farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged UGX 2,600 per kilo; FAQ UGX 6,450 per kilo, Arabica parchment UGX 10,500 per kilo and Drugar UGX 9,500 per kilo.

Robusta exports accounted for 84% of total exports higher than 77% in May 2022. By comparing quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (June 2021), Robusta decreased by 21.44% in quantity but increased by 21.37% in value. The decrease in Robusta exports was mainly attributed to lower yields this year that were characterized by drought in most regions. This led to a shorter main harvest season in Central and Eastern regions and reduced harvests from Greater Masaka and South-Western regions whose peak is expected in July 2022.

Arabica exports increased by 62.77% and 174.46% in quantity and value respectively due to an on-year cycle characteristic of Arabica coffee production. Arabica fetched an average price of US$ 4.41 per kilo. Okoro CP/B from West Nile sold at the highest price of US$ 7.23 per kilo.

Ten exporters out of 55 companies which performed during June exported 74% of the total volume.

Italy maintained the highest market share of 40.25% followed by Germany 11.34%, Sudan 10.35% (10.74%) India 7.42% (7.27%) and Morocco 4.82% (1.95%). Coffee exports to Africa amounted to 109,506 bags, a market share of 21% compared to 70,782 bags (16%) the previous month.

Coffee exports for July are projected to be 600,000 bags.

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UCDA Gives out Shs 2.2bn Wet Processing Equipment to Arabica Coffee Farmers

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Bwino Fred Kyakulaga launched the distribution of coffee wet processing equipment worth Shs 2.2bn to coffee processors from across the country yesterday. The launch took place at the Tirupati stores in Kyebando, Kampala.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries through the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) gave out the Coffee Wet Processing Equipment (wet mills) to 35 Arabica-coffee farmers, cooperatives and institutions selected from different parts of the country.

The programme is part of UCDA's efforts to increase specialty coffee volumes and enable farmers and the country to earn premium prices from high-quality arabica coffee.

The Minister handed over five electric-powered wet processing units (UDC 2000) with a capacity to process 1,200 kgs of cherry per hour and 30 petrol-powered units with a processing capacity of 800kgs of cherry per hour. Once installed, the machines will pulp ripe coffee, separate the unripe and dry pods from the good parchment, and remove mucilage leaving high-quality parchment.

The equipment will serve farmers and groups in hard-to-reach areas of Kween, Lamwo, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Buhweju, Kanungu, and Kisoro that have all benefited from the program.

Officiating at the launch of the distribution of the wet mills to the selected beneficiaries in Kampala, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the State Minister for Agriculture, said that Uganda has 18 commercial wet mills only compared to dry mills which are over 850.

He noted the need to scale up wet processing to produce commercial volumes in Arabica and Robusta growing areas which will fetch farmers premium prices.

Bwino added that the main objective of procuring the 35 wet processing equipment is to increase the number of wet mills and enhance coffee farmers’ income through value addition by increasing the production of high-quality coffee.

Most of our coffee is processed and marketed as natural and misses the premium prices. Yet, if the coffee is processed as washed and specialty coffee, it earns more.

“For instance, one kg of natural Arabica (dry Uganda Arabica) coffee
fetches Shs14,000 while a kg of washed Arabica coffee fetches Shs18,000,” Bwino said.

“The wet mills will, therefore, increase the production of premium coffee which in turn will enhance the incomes of coffee farmers,” Bwino added.

Speaking at the same event, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Managing Director at UCDA, said that the Authority worked with Local Governments to select the beneficiaries.

"We went through a transparent and rigorous process to select the beneficiaries. Many farmer groups and cooperatives applied for the wet mills but since the funds available weren’t enough, the most qualified organisations were considered.

He added that the equipment will be installed and operational within two months. However, he cautioned the beneficiaries to use the wet mills for the intended objective.

“This is a conditional allocation from Government, and if the machines are not used properly, we shall take them back,” Iyamulemye said, urging beneficiaries to allow other farmers to use the equipment at no extra fee apart from operational costs.

Alfred Boyo, a director at Masha Coffee, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude to UCDA and MAAIF for availing wet mills to farmers, noting that they will handle them with care and make the best use of them.

He added that the Government should also consider investing more in secondary processing by making available relevant equipment like roasters and grinders.

SCOGEM Enterprises Ltd supplied the equipment. Walter Upoki Umika, the Managing Director at SCOGEM Enterprises Ltd, said all the machines are full coffee washing equipment and can do pulping, sorting, flotation, mucilage removal and have the flexibility to do honey coffee.
The smaller machines cost Shs40m each while the bigger ones cost about Shs220m each.

In FY 2020/21, Uganda earned US$ 559 million from 6.1 million 60-kilo bags. Placing substantial investment in the coffee sub-sector will be a game-changer for the country and the 1.8 million households who benefit from coffee.

 

 

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