Hajji Abubakar Jeje Odongo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has reassured players in the coffee industry that government will continue to address their issues for the betterment of the sector.
Odongo made these remarks while opening the virtual Uganda-Saudi Arabia Expo themed “The Uganda Coffee industry perspective: farming, processing and exports” which aims at increasing the volume of exported coffee and coffee products from Uganda to Saudi-Arabia.
“I am requesting all participants in Uganda and Saudi-Arabia to effectively use this event to the best of your abilities. We look forward to the outcomes of this forum,” he said.
Uganda’s export of coffee and coffee husks to Saud Arabia is US$419,000.
Odongo said this figure needs to improve because Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing Coffee market in the Middle East.
“The coffee market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 6.2% during the period 2021/27. This is a great opportunity for businessmen and women from both countries,” he said.
President Museveni, in 2014, directed the Uganda Coffee Development Authority to accelerate the coffee production from 3.5M 60kg to 20M by 2025.
“It is encouraging to note that UCODA responded to the directive and created a roadmap focused at improving productivity on farm and agro-processing. The theme gives us the opportunity to rethink the possibilities of attracting investment in Uganda coffee industry mindful of Uganda’s great investment environment,” Odongo noted.
Adding: “We allow a 100% repatriation of profits after mandatory taxes as well as 100% foreign ownership of private investment. The minimum capital required for a foreign investor to be eligible to invest in Uganda in virtually any sector, apart from those that compromise the Country’s security, is $100,000.
Speaking at the function, Isaac Sebulime, Uganda’s Ambassador in Saudi Arabia said that the country has evolved some of the best husbandry practices, leading to production of 7m 60kg bags of Robusta Coffee.
“Coffee plays a key role in relations among individuals, communities and clans. When mutually shared, it serves to consolidate relations and it is the first item on the menu for a special visitor in any home,” Sebulime said.
Eng. Ali Saeed, the representative of Saudi Coffee Importers, advised UCDA to market Uganda’s coffee abroad so that it gains popularity.
“Improve the packaging, branding and some few challenges as well,” he said.
Nelson Tugume, the CEO of Inspire Coffee Africa, called upon the government to improve on the prices of coffee at the farm level.