Speaking at the event, Felix Opio project manager of Dynamic Market for Farmers – Sustainable Cocoa and Beekeeping Uganda project, reiterated the objective of the symposium- to contribute to transformation through job creation, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.
During the event, the fourth phase of Swisscontact’s flagship project supporting the cocoa and beekeeping sector in Uganda was also launched.
The event which was televised and streamed on Zoom provided an opportunity for networking with stakeholders from the public sector, development organizations, investors, and local processors.
Nearly 80% of Uganda’s exports to the regional and international market is agriculture based. The sector plays an important role to the livelihood and economic development of the country.
The chief guest at the event Hon. Lt. Col. (Rtd.) Dr. Rwamirama Bright Kanyontore- Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) said that government is committed to enhancing agro-industrialization so that Uganda's cocoa export increases from 41,000 - 70,000 metric tonnes per annum.
Experts on the panel that discussed opportunities in the cocoa sector identified high global demand for cocoa from Uganda, cocoa sector strategy, quality standards, and introduction of cocoa in new locations in Uganda as opportunities to be leveraged.
Dr. Fred Muhumuza, Economist, Makerere University: "In spite of COVID-19 cocoa farmers were not affected because trade in the commodity wasn’t disrupted. Currently Uganda's cocoa export is worth only about USD 100 million. The cocoa sector needs a strategy so it can become competitive, and tap into the USD 15 billion global cocoa market."
Nicolas Renard, Program Officer Private Sector Development & Trade, EU-Uganda: "Certification and quality standards is one of the things that will increase Uganda’s cocoa market share in the European Union (EU)."
Alex Lwakuba, Commissioner Crop Production, MAAIF: "Under a proposed bill we would like to support a cost effective cocoa certification process."
Hon. James Booliba Baba, Member of Parliament, and passionate proponent of cocoa: "We approached National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and it was confirmed that cocoa can grow in West Nile Region. We started growing cocoa in 2018 in Koboko. Why should we have poverty yet there are crops like cocoa!"
Over 1,200,000 Ugandans derive their livelihoods directly from beekeeping. Furthermore, Uganda is among the few countries allowed to export honey to the E.U.
Experts on the panel discussing opportunities in the beekeeping sector identified beekeeping linkages to environmental conservation, high demand for pharmaceuticals products derived from bee products, and increasing demand for beekeeping as a business as opportunities to be leveraged.
Dickson Biryomumaisho– Executive Director, The Uganda National Apiary Development Organization (TUNADO): "Beekeeping must be looked at holistically as an input for all agricultural enterprises. This view will lead to both environmental conservation as well as profit."
Dr. Deborah Amulen Ruth, Lecturer, Makerere University: "There is high demand for natural products with medicinal values. Uganda’s government is investing in a reference laboratory for the development of high grade pharmaceutical products derived from bee products."
Ambrose Bugaari, Expert in Inclusive Value Chain: "There's unique opportunity for SMEs and investors to adopt a vertically integrated business model looking at the processing and production value chain which will increase production and marketing of bee products."
The Dynamic Market for Farmers- Sustainable Cocoa and Honey Uganda is financed by the Canton of Basel-Landschaft, the Municipality of Riehen among other donors. As part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, it is co-financed by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)