President Yoweri Museveni has asked African leaders to conduct internal wrangles in their countries such that they add value to their raw materials.
According to Museveni, their businesses drain blood from African economies for the benefit of outsiders, and therefore leaders have to pay attention to them because they hinder the value addition of raw materials.
“We the raw material producers need to conduct internal struggles in our respective countries to add value to raw materials including coffee so that we earn more from our sweat and create more jobs for our youth instead of them dying in the Mediterranean ocean while going to Europe” Museveni explained.
Museveni also emphasized the need to sensitize partners buying raw materials in Africa at semi-prices that, that economics is defective.
“What will the United States, Europe, or Asia lose if Africa sells added value coffee to them instead of the raw material form to earn more money, because the money to Africa will mean higher purchasing power for Africa” he asserted.
“What we are proposing of adding value to our raw materials will mean putting more purchasing power in the hands of the Africans” he added.
The President made the remarks on Tuesday while officiating at the opening of the three-day second G-25 Africa Coffee Summit, held in Kampala – Uganda.
Running under the theme: “Transforming the African Coffee Sector through value addition”, the summit has attracted hundreds of stakeholders from top coffee-producing and exporting countries in Africa.
President Museveni also reiterated his call to add value to Ugandan and African Coffee at large saying that if such a step is taken, the producers of the prestigious agricultural commodity will be able to get a fair share of the global market.
“In the last 60 years, I have been involved in the struggle against this modern slavery for Africa, the curse of producing raw materials for cleverer people in the world to add value to those raw materials and get much more value from them It is not only the loss of money per kg but also the loss of jobs. If you take the whole spectrum of raw materials from agriculture, minerals, forest products, etc., the loss to Africa is massive,” he noted.
The President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Sahle-Work Zewde attributed the setback to the weak bargaining power of the producers and the lack of strong organizations committed to working on behalf and for the benefit of the producers and exporters.
“Filling this gap should be the aim and priority of the Inter- African Coffee Organization. I believe this 2nd G-25 Africa Coffee Summit will encourage such a mandate. The food farmers sweat to produce the best quality coffee to the international market but it’s the traders who decide the international coffee price in the absence of the producers or the rightful representation. The very producers are price takers and remain at the receiving end throughout the market chain. We all must work to end this market unfairness together,” H.E Zewde stated.
“With just simple value addition, it’s possible to increase the benefit of smallholder farmers and enable them to get a fair share of their efforts. It is important to promote African coffee in the global market. Ethiopia is not just the origin of Arabica coffee as Uganda for Robusta, it’s the largest, best quality, organic Arabica coffee producer and exporter in Africa and the world.” She added.
In his remarks, the Vice President of Tanzania, Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango said nearly half of Africa’s countries grow coffee and for some countries such as Tanzania, it constitutes a major source of foreign exchange and a vital contributor to their GDP.
“Given this importance, it’s timely that we have the G-25 Africa Coffee Summit and I want to underscore that we should use this platform to unanimously push for a declaration of coffee as a strategic commodity in harmony with the AU agenda 2063; promote value addition, agree on how to expand the original coffee trade and discuss remedial measures to underline risks to this important cash crop,” he noted.
The Chairman of the Inter- Africa Coffee Organisation (IACO), Hon Dr. Girma Amente called for solidarity and commitment among the African coffee-producing countries to pursue their common goal to find solutions to the development of the sector on the continent.
“For centuries, coffee has been a source of inspiration, a catalyst for conversation, and a symbol of hospitality. Moreover, it has been a valuable economic commodity that supports the lives of millions of people on our continent. The G-25 Africa Coffee Summit was created on 18th November 2021 under the auspice of the Inter-Africa Coffee Organization to reevaluate the overall performance of the coffee sector on the continent with the first summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, last year,” Hon. Amente highlighted.
On his part, Kenya’s Prime Cabinet Secretary, H.E Musalia Mudavadi noted that the summit was an affirmation that there’s a collective will to support transformative reforms in Africa’s coffee sector. He also lauded the initiatives under the Inter- Africa Coffee Organization of transforming the African coffee sector through value addition.
At this event, the African coffee-producing countries also signed the Kampala Declaration. The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon.Frank Tumwebaze signed on behalf of Uganda whereas other coffee-producing countries were represented by Dr. Girma Amente, the Chairman of the Inter-Africa Coffee Organization and Minister of Agriculture of Ethiopia.