Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has unveiled six companies that will benefit from EUR 3.48million (Shs13.98bn) East African Community Market Access Upgrade Project (EACMARKUP) project funded by the European Union.
Out of the six companies, four are in the coffee sector while two are in the cocoa sector.
The companies are; Rubanga Cooperative Union, Ainea and Sons Company Ltd (Cocoa), UGACOF Ltd, New Bukumbi Coffee Processors Limited, Outspan Agric. Ltd (Cocoa) and Uganda Coffee Farmers’ Alliance.
Gordon Katwirenabo, the National Program Coordinator, MARKUP says the beneficiaries went through vetting after a call for proposals.
“We got a lot of proposals of interest of up to 35 and then those were assessed and evaluated based on the guidelines set and came up with 12 beneficiaries.
Then the 12 were further reduced to six because of funds that were available and based on the criteria. That’s how we arrived at the last 6 beneficiaries,” Katwirenabo said.
The overall objective of the project, Katwirenabo, says is to improve market access for Coffee and Cocoa in the EU, EAC and Afro-Caribbean countries.
EACMARKUP is also aimed at improving production and productivity and managing post-harvest losses in the coffee and cocoa value chains across the country. To achieve the above, EUR 3.4 million has been allocated for that purpose.
Katwirenabo says that UCDA looked at the current issues affecting coffee and cocoa value chains which he said include lack of quality planting materials, post-harvest losses and access to finance.
So, based on the above problem statement, Katwirenabo said, those are the result areas through which finance from the European Union (EU) will tackle through the six selected companies.
The companies are expected to use the funds to scale up operations and support smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers in Uganda to improve production and productivity, reduce harvest and post-harvest losses, and increase market access to the European Union and the East African Community (EAC).
UCDA Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, says this will go a long way in creating jobs and improving inter-regional trade.
According to David Ndemeire Baigana, the Managing Director of New Bukumbi Coffee, the funding is timely.