Govt working on Bill to regulate cocoa value chain 

Low domestic consumption of cocoa, in spite of increasing importation of chocolate and other cocoa products, is equally worrying. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Uganda currently produces 44.7 metric tonnes of cocoa and is the fifth largest exporter in Africa after Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria.  

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is conducting consultative meetings that will guide formulation of the Cocoa Bill. 

The process, which is funded by the European Union, is conducted under the Market Access Upgrade Project,  supported by UCDA and Ministry of Agriculture. 

Speaking at a consultative meeting in Kampala yesterday, Amb James Boliba Baba, a cocoa farmer, said the lack of a regulatory framework governing the cocoa value chain remains one of the problems that is affecting quality and access to extension services. 

Uganda currently produces 44.7 metric tonnes of cocoa and is the fifth largest exporter in Africa after Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria.  In 2021, Uganda earned $105.8m from cocoa, an increase of 38.82 percent from $64.8m in 2018. 

However, despite this, Uganda is yet to exploit the potential of the crop.  

“If without regulations, the crop can earn us that much, imagine if we were producing 500 metric tonnes. Wouldn’t our revenue be even better? That is why coming up with regulations for the crop is crucial,” he said, noting that there was need to effectively handle the issue of poor harvesting and post-harvest handling.  

“This greatly affects the quality of cocoa beans because the chocolate scent is only got at fermentation stage, which when done wrongly will affect the final product. That also means that our beans will not meet international standards,” he said.

The quality and quantity of cocoa produced is also affected by limited extension services, limited access to market and information. 

Amb Baba said low domestic consumption of cocoa, in spite of increasing importation of chocolate and other cocoa products is equally worrying.  

According to the Tridge Intelligence database, 2022, chocolate imports to Uganda were worth $629,540 in 2021. 

However, Hassan Baguma, the founder of Kakogha Cocoa Agronomists Association, cautioned farmers against excessively relying on cocoa, which could affect food security. 

“Seeing that the cocoa root system does not allow many crops to grow in the same space, it is important to farmers spare land for food crops. Otherwise, 80 to 90 percent of their earnings will be spent on buying food which is not financially wise,” he said. 

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.