By Justin Omara
Kampala—5, June 2020: Uganda’s Ambassador to United Kingdom [UK] & Ireland, H.E. Julius Peter Moto, has praised National Agricultural Advisory Services [NAADS] for its tremendous efforts in increasing Uganda’s coffee production.
This report comes at the side-line of the 126th council meeting of the International Coffee Organization [ISO], to which Uganda is a subscriber.
Ambassador Julius Moto noted that Uganda’s coffee exports have grown by 19.6% to 2.93 million bags, reflecting greater output from newer trees coming into production. The newer trees, he added, are all over the country and are due to NAADS intervention over the previous marketing years.
“A lot of Facebook experts were critical of NAADs, now they have been proved wrong and can swallow their words). It is time to standardise the crops by asserting that only mature crops should be picked and value-added,” says the enthusiastic envoy.
Uganda is not doing badly despite price fluctuation for robusta and Arabica coffees—he added.
Market reports for May 2020 shows that “Exports from Africa increased by 7% to 7.66 million bags in the first seven months of coffee year 2019/20. Ethiopia’s shipments during this period increased by 19.2% to 2.04 million bags and its shipments in April 2020 rose by 20% to 374,000 bags due to the greater availability of coffee for export.
Uganda contributes a whopping 38% of the total coffee produced and exported from Africa, while Ethiopia contributes 27% of the same. Both Uganda and Ethiopia contribute 65% of coffee exports from Africa. “It won’t take a long time before Uganda exerts her signature among the leading producers of coffee in the world.”
While delivering his State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday, 4 June 2020, President Museveni said: “Those who thought that not much would come out of NAADS, should do something to themselves, maybe kwetuga (suicide), out of honour, because what they laughed at has now pushed Uganda’s production of coffee from 4 million, 60kgs bags, to 7 million bags.”
Several critics have blamed the dominance of foreign investors in Uganda’s large-scale coffee production on the collapse of cooperatives and coffee marketing board.
Mr Sunday Geoffrey, a Ugandan in diaspora, says: “The death of the cooperative movement and the coffee marketing board in Uganda brought in the Europeans to exploit our people and paying peanuts to the farmers…. The 7 or 10 biggest coffee dealers and exporters are not Ugandans. Western companies have registered their branches in Uganda and through these branches, they have taken over the buying and selling/exporting of our coffee, something that our forefathers had fought against.”
Ambassador Moto agreed with Mr Sunday. “The higher the value chain that require a lot of investments and knowledge in exports, the more it is dominated by foreigners and other moguls.”
He advised Ugandans in the diaspora to organize capital and come back home to take part in any sector of their choice as we strive to rebuild our country.