Kampala — Officials from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) are optimistic that the discussions and resolutions that will emerge from the 16th African Fine Coffee Conference and exhibition week will support Uganda's big coffee sector targets.
The conference that runs from Feb.14-15, will be held in Kampala at Serena Hotel under the theme; sustainable coffee industry for social economic transformation. Over 1500 delegates from Uganda and other 11 African countries will be taking part.
Uganda will be hosting the event for the fourth time but it will be the 16th time the 12 member countries will be holding it.
The core objectives for this conference usually rotate around opportunities and challenges relating to production and productivity, technology and value addition, pests and diseases, marketing and more.
Uganda is promoting coffee growing because it is the second most traded commodity in the world and it contributes 20-30% of its foreign exchange earnings. Players say it is Uganda's number one visible export.
Last year, the country exported about 4.6 million 60-kg bags of coffee which was higher than three million bags that were exported three years ago per year. Currently, there is a coffee roadmap for the private and public sectors to increase this production to 20 million bags by 2025.
Edmund Kananura Kyerere, the quality and regulatory services director at UCDA told journalists at Media Centre on Feb.12 that producing 20 million bags would place Uganda in the top three largest producers of the crop in the world up from the current eighth position.
"This week during the conference we will be sharing the coffee roadmap with delegates and call on them to come and partner with us to ensure we achieve our targets," Kananura said.
The press conference was addressed by three major funders of the coffee conference - the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and aBi Trust. The three entities announced that they had sunk in the conference US$65,000 (Approx.Shs 235 million). Of that amount, aBi contributed the highest, Shs 211 million.