By Nelson Mandela Muhoozi
The export of coffee is not as complicated as many first-timers think.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives working in partnership with Uganda Coffee Development Authority has developed a simplified coffee export process through the Uganda Trade Information Portal which is available on both their websites.
The Trade Information Portal provides transparent and practical step-by-step guidelines to get the licenses, pre-clearance permits, and clearance formalities for the export of the most traded goods – coffee inclusive.
The portal demonstrates to a coffee exporter where exactly to start and what is required. It details which office you need to go to, how long it takes and how much you need to pay. It also explains how to obtain the needed licenses and documentation.
Traders who intend to engage in the exportation of coffee are required to register with Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), a body that regulates all facilities where grading and color sorting of coffee beans are carried out and inspected.
The registration is aimed at adhering to strict purposes of producing and exporting good quality coffee that meets international standards.
The portal indicates that a trader wishing to export coffee must have or must obtain a Coffee Export License from UCDA.
The trader also requires an International Coffee Organization (ICO) Certificate of Origin for each consignment as required by the International Coffee Organisation. A quality certificate is also issued to confirm that the coffee is of good quality and meets International standard requirements. These are issued by UCDA.
The portal also provides information on how to register a new coffee grading facility and how to obtain a performance bond which is necessary before one can obtain a coffee export license.
A phytosanitary certificate is also necessary for coffee exporters to prove that the coffee is free of regulated pests and that it meets the requirements of the importing country as stipulated in the import permit which the exporter must attach to their application for the certificate.
Coffee exports for 12 months (FY2021/22) totaled 6.26 million 60kg bags worth $862.28m compared to 6.08 million bags worth $559.16m the previous year (FY 2020/21).
This represents an increase of 3% and 54% in both quantity and value respectively according to UCDA.
June coffee exports fell by 14% to 530,365 60-kilo bags of coffee valued at US$ 83.79 million. This comprised 444,197 bags of Robusta valued at $60.98m and 86,168 bags of Arabica valued at $22.82m.
This was a decrease of 14% in quantity but an increase of 43% in value compared to the same month last year.
According to UCDA, the decrease in quantity is attributed to a dry spell that has affected many coffee-growing regions in the country.