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Tasty Ugandan coffee attracts Turkish traders

Tasty Ugandan coffee attracts Turkish traders
Turkish firms keen to help Uganda boost quality, competitiveness of coffee exports

By Hamza Kyeyune

KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) – Turkish businesses are exploring various opportunities to import aromatic coffee from Uganda, Africa's second-biggest producer and the eighth-largest in the world.

Despite its quality coffee, Uganda does not have a coherent marketing strategy to sell it to Turkey, which is one of the largest importers in Europe with annual procurement of around $200 million, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), an international trade data platform.

Uganda is the birthplace of robusta, one of the world’s most popular types of coffee known for its boldness and bite, caffeine content, unique flavor, and multiple health benefits.

Any coffee connoisseur who has visited Kampala, Uganda's capital city perched on the rolling hills north of Lake Victoria, will certainly attest in the affirmative – the beverage is probably the best money can buy.

The murky drink, with a flavor profile that reflects how it is grown and processed, has become increasingly popular in Uganda, enjoyed equally in the swankiest hotels to the most modest of establishments in underdeveloped areas.

The appeal of Ugandan coffee extends well beyond its borders, placing it among the world's top coffee exporters.

Data from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) shows that most of the country’s coffee goes to the US, Europe, India and Russia.

Turkey, with a culture in which coffee holds an integral place, represents yet another lucrative market for Uganda.

Turkey's love for coffee is evident in the Turkish word for breakfast, “kahvalti,” which literally means “before coffee.” In cafes and bistros throughout the country, steaming cups of coffee are what keep the conversation going and encourage socialization at all times.

Several Turkish firms – Lawaga Coffee, Kamuran Kahve, and Kiva Han Coffee International among others – are investing in Uganda’s coffee sector to stimulate trade between the two countries, helping create jobs and bolster the local economy.

According to Turkish Ambassador to Uganda Fikret Kerem Alp, the Turkish government is encouraging Turkish companies to engage more in developing economies, rather than simply exporting goods to these countries.

The embassy and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) have been connecting Turkish traders with their Ugandan counterparts through meetings and various social events.

“We work with the government and farmers to create brands from Uganda coffee that suit the Turkish market,” Gunhan Durgun of Lawaga Coffee told Anadolu Agency.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed coffee production and disrupted global supply chains, but still Uganda exported more than six million bags of coffee worth some $560 million in the 2020-21 financial year.

Over 95% of Uganda's annual coffee exports are beans, and officials believe the country can significantly increase its revenue by exporting value-added coffee.

Ozen Demircioglu, head of Kiva Han Coffee International, told Anadolu Agency in Kampala that she has finalized talks with the Ugandan government on increasing production and adding value to the local coffee.

“If the coffee beans are finely roasted and everything is carefully controlled, the coffee ends up tasting just right,” she said.

“Uganda’s coffee is of very high quality, but it exports a lot of it unprocessed, which is not a good business idea. We will focus on important value addition chains and use our connections in Turkey and Europe to improve its competitiveness in international markets.”

source: News Feed
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