The Uganda Coffee Roadmap is on the move

The Uganda Coffee Roadmap is on the move

150 coffee experts gathered to the 12th Annual Stakeholder Meeting of the Ugandan Coffee Platform to learn how the 15-year Uganda’s Coffee Roadmap will will increase Uganda’s coffee production from the current 4.7 million bags to 20 million bags in 2030, and triple the income of 1.2 million smallholdercoffee farmers.

Vincent Ssempijja, Minister of Agriculture, Animal and Fisheries, members of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, district representatives, coffee traders, processors and exporters, farmer organizations and civil society organizations, gathered in Kampala to understand the ambitious plan supported by the Global Coffee Platform and its Members. The development of the roadmap framework was already developed in 2017 but had not included a detailed budgeted work plan. Facilitated by two consultants, who exchanged and gathered input from public and private side, the roadmap is now being taken to the next level to operationalize it. The roadmap consists of nine initiatives clustered in three groups:

To have a solid foundation for the planning of the roadmap, a comprehensive analysis on how small holder coffee production can be increased was produced. The main finding was that doubling of coffee production by smallholders to around 9 million bags is feasible in 5 years. This goal entails executing a rehabilitation and renovation (R&R) programme that upgrades about 400 thousand smallholder coffee farms, or about one quarter of the total number of coffee farms in Uganda. The total cost of this process would be around US$ 170 million. If successful, it would increase Uganda’s export value by US$ 450 million per year by 2025. During the session, it was also shown to the Platform Members that an effective R&R programme would greatly enhance the coffee infrastructure, input and service delivery, making it possible to double production again to 20 million bags by 2030.

Where should Uganda focus its efforts to increase coffee production?

The potential for this quick increase in production lies in the current low production per tree: on average around 500 grams of clean coffee, and for low-input-output farmers around 200-300 grams per tree. This latter group can double its production per tree by a set of relatively low -cost and easy R&R interventions (such as pruning, stumping, weeding and low application of fertilizer). If the R&R interventions were put into practice, the behavioural change in this group would drive the initial doubling of coffee production. The implementation plan also proposes to stimulate medium scale commercial coffee plantation, with an outreach programme to smallholder farmers.

From a public investment perspective, recommendations include revamping coffee research with increased funding and collaborative arrangements with other international coffee research bodies. On value addition, good prospects are seen for private sector investments in washing stations, and in producing coffee roasts, both grounds and soluble, for the low-end markets in Uganda and East Africa.

Achieving a successful Roadmap implementation programme also requires the support of country-wide, professionally executed promotion campaigns aimed at producers to adopt R&R technologies, and at local prospective low-end coffee consumers.

Roadmap implementation starting in mid-2019

To kick start the Roadmap implementation, the next recommended activities up to July 2019 are:

  • Hold a high-level Government policy meeting to seek political and financial support for the execution of the Roadmap
  • Develop detailed proposals for each key intervention
  • Hold a donor conference to seek multilateral and bilateral funding, and technical assistance for particular elements of the implementation plan
  • Form a Roadmap Advisory Council with members of the public and private sector to oversee the implementation of the coffee Roadmap
  • Strengthen the Partnership and Programme Unit in the Uganda Coffee Development Authority
  • Align the UCDA 2019/20 budget with the Roadmap implementation plan

The Platform’s Roadmap and its next steps caused great excitement in the Ugandan Coffee sector and was thus positively endorsed in broad terms. By the end of the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture pledged the Ministry’s support to the coffee sector and promised that the required policy and legislative framework for its growth would be put in place as quickly as possible. And certainly, motivated members of the Platform left the meeting ready to contribute to the implementation of the roadmap to build a prospering coffee sector in Uganda.

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If you have any related questions to what’s happening in Uganda, contact Caroline Glowka.