By Nelson Mandela Muhoozi
The consequential withdrawal of Uganda from the International Coffee Organization (ICO) means that Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is no longer eligible to issue the ICO Certificates of Origin.
However, UCDA says there are available preferential markets available to Uganda coffee exporters based on the new guidelines on the issuance of Uganda Certificate of Origin.
There are up to seven (7) types of certificates of origin available to exporters, according to Doreen Rweihangwe, the director quality and regulatory services at UCDA.
Rweihangwe said: “There are frameworks or agreements with different countries to give preferential treatment to our coffees. Our coffee will continue to move unhindered to the markets it has been going to.”
“The contracts will continue between buyers and sellers. UCDA will continue to capture them and monitor them to make sure that they are fulfilled and will issue documents that will help Uganda’s coffee move to all the destinations where it is meant to move”, Rweihangwe added.
Certificates of Origin available
The East African Community (EAC) Certificate of Origin, according to Rweihangwe, will be used for export of coffee to Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.
The COMESA Certificate of Origin will be used for the export of coffee to COMESA member states except for Kenya, Rwanda & Burundi for which the EAC Certificate of Origin must be used.
Then, the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) Certificate of Origin will be used for export of coffee to Japan, US, Canada, Australia, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, New Zealand and all EU states.
According to Rweihangwe, the other certificates of origin that coffee exporters can use are; China Certificate of Origin for preferential tariff for LDCs, India Certificate of Origin for preferential tariff for LDCs, Morocco Certificate of Origin for preferential tariff for LDCs and South Korea Certificate of Origin for preferential tariff for LDCs.
“Now every coffee consignment will be accompanied by a certificate of origin from Uganda, Rweihangwe said, adding that, “Uganda National Chamber of Commerce also offers Certificate of Origin to exporters specifying on issues like quality, grade and other aspects which wipes off the fear that without ICO Certificate of Origin, Uganda’s coffee has no proof that it is that.”
Additionally, Rweihangwe said Uganda offers other preferential documents on waivers that are still in effect to other countries including China, India, Morocco and South Korea, among others.
However, according to Nucafe’s Joseph Nkandwa, there is still need for a lot of concentrated efforts from all the producer countries so that there is consensus and redress to the concerns raised by members of the ICO.