Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has welcomed on board two private companies selected to benefit from a matching grant scheme from the European Union – East African Community Market Access Upgrade (EU-EAC MARKUP) programme.
The matching grant scheme under the EU-EAC MARKUP programme targets SMEs from the coffee and cocoa sub sectors for grants that will among others boost production, reduce harvest and post-harvest losses while allowing for increased market access and visibility for the products on the European Union and East African Community markets.
Speaking at an inception meeting held in the UCDA boardroom, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, UCDA’s Managing Director welcomed UGACOF and AINEA & Sons which are the first beneficiaries of six that were chosen for the scheme.
“This grant focuses on improving post-harvest handling practices. It aims at empowering the farmer. Therefore, I call on you to support farmers get good value for their [coffee and cocoa],” Dr. Emmanuel noted.
He also cautioned the beneficiaries to be keen on accountability.
“As government, we don’t want to have accountability issues. In case of challenges, write and seek clarification,” Dr. Iyamulemye said.
Juvenal Muhumuza, Assistant Commissioner, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development noted that the Ministry would support the beneficiaries achieve their goals.
“We at Ministry of Finance recognize coffee as one of the products that can turn the fortunes of this country and this has been reflected by the recent figures of coffee exports,” he said. “We want to promise you maximum cooperation and we look forward to working closely with you to achieve the intended objectives.”
The EU representative, Patrick Seruyange noted that it was a rigorous process to get the two grant beneficiaries on board and the two companies will work with government through UCDA which is the coordinating partner for the EU-EAC MARKUP programme.
The Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is an initiative of the EAC Partner States funded by the EU and aims at addressing both supply side and market access constraints of some of the key export-oriented sectors, with particular focus on exports to the EU and ACP markets. In Uganda, the programme focuses on two commodities namely coffee and cocoa.
Specifically, the project will enhance market access to EU and the East African region by supporting private operators in the coffee and cocoa value chains to improve quality and quantity of the produce and retain premium prices for the same through niche markets.