We engaged Uganda with no success, coffee body claims

Coffee exports registered the highest growth in February in more than three years. PHOTO/EDGAR R BATTE 

What you need to know:

  • Last week, Uganda announced a two-year suspension of its membership from the ICO, noting that the country needed to put pressure on the organisation to address certain concerns as a coffee producing country. 

The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) has said it made several attempts to reach out to Uganda to explain its reluctance to renew its membership to no avail. 

In a statement responding to a document released by Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) explaining the withdrawal, ICO said attempts to get an explanation from government represented by UCDA were not fruitful, forcing the organisation to seek out President Museveni, who also did not respond. 

“Since receiving the notification from UCDA, ICO and the chair of the International Coffee Council (ICC) have made several attempts to engage Ugandan authorities, including President Museveni, without any response or receiving the reason for the decision of the UCDA,” the statement reads in part, noting that it was only on February 9, when UCDA issued a statement putting forward reasons for not agreeing with extension of the ICA 2007 that the organization got the reasoning behind the decision. 

The statement also noted that extension of the ICA 2007 had been approved by all ICO members except Uganda. 
ICO exporting members represent 93 percent of world coffee production and 64 percent of consumption.  

Last week, Uganda announced a two-year suspension of its membership from the ICO, noting that the country needed to put pressure on the organisation to address certain concerns as a coffee producing country. 

Uganda has been trading its coffee under the 2007 ICO agreement, but UCDA says the agreement has some provisions that are outdated and does not favour farmers and other players in the value chain. 

However, before the UCDA statement, ICO had on February 2 announced the withdrawal of Uganda from the International Coffee Agreement, noting it had in September 2021 received a notification from UCDA about a decision to not participate in the extension of the ICA 2007. 

Yesterday, Mr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the UCDA managing director, told Daily Monitor that whereas they had received the statement, they were studying it and would come back with a clear response.  

The ICO statement also claimed that whereas “Uganda had abundant opportunities but decided not to address [its] issues within the established negotiation and decision-making mechanisms of the ICA 2007 and the ICO.”

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