Uganda did not pull out of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO). Rather, the country is renegotiating the terms of the International Coffee Agreement 2007 to ensure it gets better terms as the leading coffee exporter in Africa and seventh leading exporter in the world.
Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries, revealed this during a coffee stakeholder dialogue on the National Coffee Act 2021 and the progress of the implementation of the Coffee Roadmap.
“Uganda did not withdraw from ICO. We are engaging with ICO and renegotiating the terms of the International Coffee Agreement 2007. We want to ensure that our concerns as a leading coffee exporter in Africa are addressed. We will share with stakeholders the results of our discussion in a month,” Hon. Frank Tumwebaze told the participants at the event.
The International Coffee Agreement 2007 is the seventh Agreement since 1962 and was agreed by the 77 Members of the International Coffee Council who met in London on 28 September 2007. It was formally adopted by the Council through Resolution 431 and entered into force definitively on 2 February 2011.
The 2007 Agreement came into force to strengthen the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) role as a forum for intergovernmental consultations, facilitate international trade through increased transparency and access to relevant information, and promote a sustainable coffee economy for the benefit of all stakeholders and particularly of small-scale farmers in coffee-producing countries.
The ICO is the main intergovernmental organization for coffee. It brings together exporting and importing countries to tackle the challenges facing the world coffee sector through international cooperation.
However, some members especially producing countries feel that the terms of the 2007 agreement have not been fair to them and a new agreement should capture their concerns.
Speaking at the dialogue, Dr. Charles Mugoya, the Chairman Board of Directors of UCDA noted that ICO should do more to support producing countries like Uganda build capacity in value addition.
As Uganda pushes forward with a production target of 20m bags by 2025, it is critical that Uganda coffee gets favourable trade terms to support her industry thrive at both the local and global level.