The move was made under the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan (ASSP) which is the plan for investment and development of the agricultural sector in line with the National Development Plan, which identified coffee as a priority commodity capable of pushing economic growth and development.
Uganda gets Korean coffee expert to oversee export quality
The Ministry of Agriculture has sourced a quality control value chain expert from South Korea through their arrangement with the Korean Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT), to oversee the exportation of improved coffee.
To ensure quality in the coffee value chain, Cheol-ok Kim has been hired for his knowledge of the Korean value chain where Ugandan coffee has been performing poorly.
On occasion, the coffee beans imported into Korea have been found to contain high levels of Ochratoxin beyond international standards resulting in the withholding of the commodity.
Kim is an Expert Q-Grader with professional skills in sensory evaluation of green coffee, roasted coffee beans, and powdered coffee in coffee importers, coffee roasters, coffee beverage manufacturers, coffee franchise companies, and coffee shops through taste, quality, and management of coffee.
He is also part of the expert of Technology Advice & Solutions from Korea (TASK), a collaboration project between KIAT and MAAIF.
Coffee exports performance
This move comes against the backdrop of improved export earning performance of coffee, which earned the country $862.28 million (about Shs3.2trillion) in the last financial year 2021/22 compared to $559.16 million (about Shs2.1trillion) in the Financial year 2020/21.
Currently, Uganda boasts over 1.8 million households that grow coffee. The commodity contributes a third of the country's export earnings. The government has since planned to increase production from the current 402,000 tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes annually by 2025.
The Uganda-Korea collaboration will also pave way for the direct export of Uganda's coffee to South Korea which consumes, as of 2022, 353 cups annually (nearly three times higher than the global average of 132 cups).
Kim is also a private-sector player engaged in the coffee industry, and will also be helping a local company to produce coffee for EAC and the Middle East.
“My plan is to improve the quality of coffee in Uganda through technical guidance and to develop products such as instant coffee using Robusta coffee produced in Uganda," said Cheol-ok Kim.
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