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Getting the best out of Ugandan coffee

Roasted coffee beans

Getting the best out of Ugandan coffee

Thanks to CBI coaching a Ugandan coffee cooperative has increased its exports to Europe, significantly improved the position of its members, and more.

Objectives

Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Uganda (ACPCU) is an organisation with over 8,530 members based in southwest Uganda. The cooperative buys hulled coffee, mainly high-quality dry-processed Robusta coffee, from its members then grades, sorts, packages and exports it. Its main objectives are to increase its members’ capacity and competences to export coffee directly to roasters, increase their participation in the value chain, boost their income and develop the Ankole coffee brand.

Skills

And thanks to CBI coaching, ACPCU is well on its way to realising these objectives. ACPCU General Manager John Nuwagaba explains that in 2010, he started following a CBI Export Coaching Programme (ECP) in the Netherlands. On returning to Uganda, he then passed on the skills he’d acquired to other ACPCU members.

New business model

As a direct result of Nuwagaba’s participation in the ECP, ACPCU switched its business model from supplying domestically to directly exporting Fairtrade-certified high-quality Robusta coffee to international buyers. It now exports five to six times more high-quality Robusta coffee and has secured partnerships with traders in the north to keep doing so for the next few years. Furthermore, final prices paid to ACPCU members have increased to 88 per cent of world market prices and, because it now closely monitors market prices for coffee, the cooperative stands stronger in negotiations with sourcing partners.

Market requirements

The ECP covered so many things that helped ACPCU enter the European market, assures Nuwagaba. “Among these were how to approach the market, the market’s requirements, what you need to do as a producer, market segmentation, trends, how to position yourself in the market and how retain your customers and grow your business.”

Export growth

According to Nuwagaba, the ECP also showed them the value of attending exhibitions and trade fairs. “Not only were we given the opportunity to meet and talk to potential clients, we were shown how to follow it all up and take the relationship forward. All these aspects, together with the other things we’d learned on the ECP helped us to identify, approach and then correctly deal with the right clients. Our exports have grown by almost 40 per cent!”

Opened our eyes

“I really appreciate the contributions made by CBI expert Raphael Valcarce and CBI programme manager Patrick Gouka, who played crucial roles in our coaching, and for the encouragement they gave us,” concludes Nuwagaba. “I’d also like to thank CBI for investing in a smallholder organisation like ours. The coaching we received really opened our eyes. My only regret is that I wish the ECP, which finished in early 2016, had lasted about a year longer, particularly to give more focus on the area of exhibitions and trade fairs. This would have given us even more concrete exposure in Europe and thus even more help in realising our exporting ambitions.”