Uganda moves to fulfill EU coffee export conditions 

Coffee from deforested areas will not be allowed to enter EU under the EU Deforestation Regulation. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Uganda has put in place measures that seek to guarantee that coffee supply chains are free of products that contribute to deforestation

Uganda, through Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), has said the country has put in place measures that will guarantee that its coffee is free of deforestation ahead of the January 1, 2025 deadline. 

The measures seek to guarantee that supply chains are free of products that contribute to deforestation, which the European Union has put as a condition for export of coffee to member states. 

The EU, under the Deforestation Regulation, notes that only goods that are lawful in their country of origin and unrelated to deforestation and forest degradation will be permitted in markets of member countries. 

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting, Dr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the UCDA managing director, said Uganda is working towards complying with the regulations and UCDA was engaging different stakeholders for a way forward.

“We already have the national coffee register where farmers are registered, the number of trees they have and their location but we had not brought in EU Deforestation Regulation because by 2021, the regulations were not in place,” he said, noting that the regulations came in place in June 2023 yet we had already worked on the register. 

"We want to take this advantage and include the EU regulations in the national register so that when you register the farmer and the farm we make sure they comply with the regulations and avoid doing double work.

Uganda will also map the country by using satellite and artificial intelligence to tell areas, which by 2020 had forests,  but were encroached on. 

“We are engaging the EU to accept the territorial approach because the deadline is short and we cannot have the national register integrated because we are running out of time,” he said, noting that there are two phases Uganda is looking at, which include the territorial approach and traceability, which will be applied in the long term. 
The regulations, which will come into force on January 1, 2025, require that any coffee planted after 2020 in a deforested area will not be allowed into the EU. 
Ms Brendah Natukunda, the International Trade Centre national coordinator, said the regulations come at a time when sustainable agriculture is needed.