Uganda blames withdrawal from coffee body agreement on unfair trade terms
Uganda blamed its withdrawal from an International Coffee Organization (ICO) agreement earlier this month on what it called unfair tariffs and other trade barriers that limit processed coffee exports to Europe and other markets.
Africa’s second largest coffee producer behind Ethiopia had previously given no reason for withdrawing from a two-year extension to the ICO’s 2007 International Coffee Agreement (ICA), effectively withdrawing from the preeminent intergovernmental body tasked with supervising global coffee production and trade and fostering cooperation between producers and consumers.
“Uganda requires unconditional market access that enables the export of coffee with added value, not just green coffee,” the state-run Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said in a statement.
“The new coffee deal should place a greater emphasis on value addition through long-term programmes aimed at transferring value to the farm gate.”
President Yoweri Museveni has long complained about what he believes are unfair trade rules that deprive countries like Uganda of value in critical commodities such as coffee.
Coffee production in the East African country has increased in recent years as a result of aggressive planting programmes that have increased the crop’s acreage coverage.
According to central bank data, earnings from the beans are Uganda’s second largest source of foreign exchange after gold.
Uganda exported 6.5 million 60kg bags worth $630 million in the 12 months to September 30 of last year.