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UK coffee buyers visit Uganda growers

The UK Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme in Uganda supports high-value specialty coffees. In January, the programme brought a delegation of 11 UK coffee buyers to Uganda to visit local producers.

Kicking off in Kampala, the delegation visited and cupped coffee at companies in Namanve, Uganda’s industrial processing hub, before heading to the coffee plantations in the eastern part of the country. There they met hundreds of arabica coffee farmers, including women producer groups and some of the largest cooperatives in the region.

Ankole Coffee Cooperative Union, which represents 16,000 farmers, showcased their coffee in a cupping session with the UK buyer delegation. All 12 companies working with UKTP in Uganda served their coffees.

The delegation also toured coffee washing stations where they saw first-hand the industry’s commitment to sustainability and environmental management.

The Ugandan companies said the tour offered them immense opportunities to build long-term business relationships with major players in the UK market.

UK buyers also found the tour immensely valuable, and said they were ready to do business with Uganda.

Speaking at the main cupping event at the Africa Coffee Academy in Kampala, Katie Crosby, Trade and Prosperity Officer at the British High Commission, declared the mission a success. She said it was a good example of how the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), by funding the UKTP Programme, is supporting efforts to alleviate poverty and creating jobs in developing countries.

‘Our strategy is to support clean, green and inclusive growth for mutual prosperity for both Uganda and the UK,’ said Crosby. ‘Building Uganda’s and other developing countries’ potential to trade with the UK and the rest of the world is one way of achieving the objectives of this strategy.’

UKTP in Uganda works with companies who produce high-quality coffee in small volumes. These companies are well suited to sell to the specialty coffee segment of the UK market. They do not need large financing facilities and can be more sustainable and profitable because of the coffee’s high value. As a result, they can pass on a larger proportion of profits to the farmer.

The specialty coffee segment is known for direct relationships where importers and roasters invest in their supply base. That includes sustainable and inclusive initiatives on climate change adaptation, environmental conservation, paying a living income, gender equity and youth empowerment.

Credit: International Trade Centre

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