A senior official has said the European Union will finance the expansion of cocoa growing in Uganda.
Ms Nadia Cannatha, who made this revelation at a meeting of the Uganda Cocoa Association, is responsible for promoting trade in Uganda.
Ms Cannatha was responding to Mr Constantine Bwambale, the chairperson of the Uganda Cocoa Association (UCA), who had appealed to stakeholders in the cocoa sector such as the government and donors to support their efforts to expand cocoa growing in the country.
“Research shows that cocoa can grow in most parts of Uganda. As a perennial crop, we at Uganda Cocoa Association believe that cocoa is one of the crops that can fight poverty. Cocoa could be the new coffee. We must expand the production and productivity of cocoa in Uganda,” said Mr Constantine Bwambale on December 5.
Ms Mariella Sandini, the European Union Technical Advisor on coffee and cocoa said the expansion of cocoa growing will need a regulatory framework under which donors can make a contribution.
She assured Uganda Cocoa Association of EU support in extending cocoa growing to all parts of Uganda.
However, over 60 years later, cocoa is only beginning to attract its deserving attention as an important export crop and income earner for small-holder farmers in Uganda. Bundibugyo is the biggest producer of cocoa in the country.
Mr Ronald Mutegeki, the Bundibugyo District chairperson, said the relation between exporters and small holder farmers should not be limited to client-supplier level.
“Cocoa growing is suited in many districts in Uganda and requires less labour than coffee. It also gives good returns compared to many other crops,” said Mr Constantine Bwambale, the Uganda Cocoa Association chairperson.
Cocoa is currently grown in Bundibugyo, Mukono, Kibaale and Hoima districts. According to the Uganda Cocoa Association, cocoa growing was introduced in Uganda in the 1950s in the District of Mukono. It was later introduced to Bundibugyo - the major cocoa producing area.