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Uganda Pulls Out of Global Coffee Treaty

Uganda has withdrawn from the International Coffee Treaty, with effect from February 2022, raising market concerns from stakeholders.

Dr Emmanuel Lyamuleme Niyibigira, the managing director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), communicated the decision to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) on September 10.

"We would like to notify the Depositary that the government of Uganda will not join the extension of the ICA (International Coffee Agreement) 2007 beyond February 1, 2022. We hereby request the ICO Secretariat to circulate this communication to all members of the organisation," the notice reads in part.

It, however, does not give reasons for the withdrawal, while Dr Lyamuleme did not also respond to our repeated calls to explain the decision.

Sources within and close to the UCDA say the move was made without the approval of the board and government.

Sources add the decision may affect the country's eight million coffee farmers.

According to the National Coffee Act Section 40(3), UCDA is required to profile, grade and certify coffee in line with the international standards issued by ICO and other international standard bodies.

What it means to pull out

Mr Usher Wilson Uwere, the president of National Organisation of Trade Unions, yesterday said the move is not only scandalous but will also make local coffee lose market.

He said ICO serves as the forum for intergovernmental consultations and facilitates international trade through promotion of transparency and promotes sustainable coffee economy for the benefit of all coffee stakeholders.

"Access to a range of services, data, knowledge, strategic, commercial, and development partnerships, among producing and importing countries as well as with development organizations and financial institutions are also key factors that members value as part of their participation and integration in the International Coffee Agreement," he said.

Mr Robert Kabushenga, the proprietor of Regyeyo Coffee, wondered what the fate of coffee farmers will be after.

"We really are our own worst enemies. And we are hiring clueless keyboard warriors in an empty boast about being the leading exporter of coffee. Wasting money on a half-baked marketing campaign. We have just screwed 8 million Ugandans whose livelihood is coffee," he tweeted.




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