What you need to know:
- Occasionally, coffee beans imported into Korea have been found to contain high levels of Ochratoxin (contamination exceeding the standard level), resulting into withholding the commodity.
In the quest to further increase earnings generated from coffee, proper quality control measures for the much sought-after cash crop, has now become the government’s top priority.
This has been exemplified by sourcing of a quality control value chain expert from South Korea after an arrangement between Ministry of agriculture and the Korean Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) was struck.
This collaboration will among other things pave way for direct export of the country’s coffee to South Korea whose coffee per capita consumption as of 2020 stood at 353 cups per year - nearly three times higher than the global average of 132 cups.
To ensure proper quality controls in critical elements of the coffee value chain, the knowledge of the Korean value chain expert, Mr Cheol-ok Kim, comes in handy, according to the Ministry of Agriculture technocrats and sector analysts interviewed by this reporter.
According to the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan (ASSP) - the flagship plan for investment and development of the agricultural sector which is in line with the National Development Plan, coffee has been identified as a priority commodity, thanks to the cash crop importance to the economic growth and development.
Over 1.8 million households grow coffee, and it contributes about a third of the country's export earnings, making it a leading foreign exchange earner for the country. The government has since developed an ambitious plan to increase its current production of 402,000 tons of coffee to 1.2 million tons annually by 2025.
Mr Kim therefore, is to ensure improvement in quality, processing and export of the commodity which last financial year (2021/2022) earned the country $862.28 million (about Shs3.2trillion) compared to $559.16 million (about Shs2.1trillion) the previous year (Financial year 2020/21).
“Mr Kim is an expert Q-Grader who can perform tasks related to coffee quality control by evaluating the quality of green beans, roasted coffee beans, and powdered coffee in coffee importers, coffee roasters, coffee beverage manufacturers, coffee franchise companies, and coffee shops,” reads in part the statement issued by the Korea International Agribusiness Development Institute (KADI).
As a Q-Grader – professionally skilled in sensory evaluation of green coffee, Mr Kim also evaluates the taste, quality, and management of coffee. He is also part of the expert of Technology Advice & Solutions from Korea (TASK) - a collaboration project between KIAT and MAAIF.
Occasionally, coffee beans imported into Korea have been found to contain high levels of Ochratoxin (contamination exceeding the standard level), resulting into withholding the commodity. This is an area that Mr. Kim’s technical guidance will also come in handy.
Mr who is also a private sector player engaged in coffee industry, said in an interview: “My plan is to improve the quality of coffee in Uganda through technical guidance and to develop products such as instant coffee using Robusta coffee produced in Uganda.
He will also help a local company called Discovery Ltd to produce coffee mix which will be exported to the regional countries as well as the Middle East.