The decision to host the 54th Assembly here shows the confidence that the IACO and the ministers of African countries have in the contribution Uganda is making in the development of the coffee industry in Africa and the world.
Since 1986 when the National Resistance Movement (NRM)ame to power, Uganda has registered remarkable success in restoring peace, security and economic growth and development.
For the first time since independence in 1962, the whole country is secure and stable. The size of the economy has grown 16-fold from $1.55 million in 1986 to about $24.5 billion today. Since 1986, Uganda’s economic growth has been increasing steadily averaging 5-7 per cent per annum. Coffee has been making a significant contribution to the country’s export earnings.
Uganda took deliberate measures to attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and has been able to: reduce the proportion of the population below the poverty line by half substantially reduce hunger and under-nutrition and increase access to medical public health facilities.
Uganda remains on track to achieve the other MDGs
Agriculture remains the mainstay of Uganda’s economy and is employing over 60 per cent of the labour force as well as contributing over 20 per cent of GDP. While the contribution of agriculture to GDP across the African economies has been generally decreasing, its contribution firmly remains important for the growth of other sectors and provides a foundation for improvement of the livelihoods of our societies.
In line with the AU 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security, Uganda will continue to commit resources to promoting agricultural development and rural development. To achieve this, Uganda has put in place the Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan which focuses on increasing agricultural production and productivity, increasing access to markets and value addition and creation of an enabling environment for the private sector.
Backbone of economies
Production of coffee has been and will continue to be the backbone of the economies of most African countries. The market outlooks for both niche coffees and conventional coffees, including Robusta, present a grand opportunity for the African coffee industry. The coffee smallholder farmers continue to produce below their potential, which must be harnessed when the right actions are taken along the coffee value chain.
The ministerial meeting should provide the policy direction to the African coffee industry, tackle the impediments to growth of Africa’s coffee sector, explore opportunities for regional trade and identify measures to promote domestic coffee consumption.
I commend the private sector for the investment in the coffee industry, and the Development Partners for the technical and financial support extended to Africa in supporting our efforts to modernise agriculture.
I wish to interest you in Uganda’s wonderful attractions for our visitors. I hope you find the time to explore some of our major attractions such as Mountain Gorilla Tracking, Chimpanzee Trekking, Wildlife safaris game drive in the National Parks, Bird Watching, Water Rafting and Source of the Nile, Rwenzori Mountaineering, and Cultural Tours.
The writer is Prime Minister of the
Republic of Uganda
SOURCE: Daily Monitor