ICO stops issuance of Certificate of Origin to Ugandan coffee exporters

The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) announced it will no longer issue its Certificate of Origin to Ugandan coffee exporters following the Uganda Coffee Development Authority’s (UCDA’s) move to temporarily leave the organization citing irregularities in the International Coffee Agreement 2007.

“The Executive Director presents his compliments and wishes to inform ICO members that, due to the decision of the Government of Uganda not to agree with the extension of the International Coffee Agreement 2007 and the consequent withdrawal of Uganda from the Organization, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is no longer eligible to issue ICO Certificates of Origin,” reads as a statement issued on February 1.

“Any ICO Certificate of Origin issued by the UCDA dated after 1 February 2022 will not be valid.”

Established in 1963, the ICO brings together governments that represent 98% of world coffee production and 83% of world consumption. Uganda has been a member since its inception.

The move has pitted the Authority against a section of farmers who say they are losing out on market from countries that are part of the ICO.

“During the two years, Uganda will still issue the ICO Certificate of origin on coffee exports. All exports of coffee from members and non-members of ICO have country codes on their certificates of origin. The certificates of origin were imperative to ascertain full implementation of the quotas and after the quotas were suspended in 1989, the Certificate of Origin is voluntary; its issuance is to help in the compilation of statistics to submit to relevant government agencies and URA purposes in the collection of the Coffee Cess,” said Emannuel Iyamulemye, the UCDA managing director.

The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Frank Tumwebaze allayed fears of those opposing UCDA’s decision: “it’s not in the interests of UCDA to disadvantage our international coffee trade, an area they have invested efforts over years. UCDA is demanding better terms at ICO, period.  Take time [and] listen to the issues they are raising [and] perhaps support them as a stakeholder.”

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