Government through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) has signed a Financing agreement of about Shs15.6b (€3.7m) from the European Union (EU) under the EAC-EU Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP) to help traders in coffee and cocoa sector access EU markets and other interregional markets.
The grant agreement which was signed at the MoFPED head offices in Kampala between the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and the EU ambassador to Uganda H.E Attilio Pacifici, will support small and medium-sized enterprises in the country to gain access to markets in the EU and increase interregional trade by enhancing the competitiveness of the coffee and cocoa exports.
Minister Kasaija shortly after signing the agreement said the grant will help Uganda in implementation of a range of efficient measures to reduce on trade barriers and provide quality assurance, enhancement of SME export competitiveness, and business promotion
“This intervention will in return help improve the livelihood of the communities and business in the country and the region at large” he said
The Minister further assured the EU delegation that the grant will be put to proper use in accordance with the Agreement terms.
“We will furnish the delegation of the EU with information and data concerning the progress of the implementation of the project through regular consultation with the team” he said.
According to Ambassador Attilio, Uganda remains one of the biggest coffee exporters to the EU. In just 2017, Uganda exported over Shs1.3trillion worth of coffee, and has doubled over the ten years contributing 60% of all Ugandan export to EU.
The ambassador said that one of the challenges that limit developing countries from exporting locally is the quality and consistent production and supply which are very crucial for the global markets.
“This grant is aimed at value chain addition for coffee and cocoa producers, processors. If Ugandan traders want to get rich at some point from agribusiness, they must target the bigger international markets. This can only be done by ensuring consistence in quality and quantity” he said
He further noted that the agreement will ensure that Uganda continues to enjoy duty free- quota free access to EU market in future even when it is no longer a developing country