KAMPALA, Feb 21– Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has urged Europe’s largest coffee roaster, D.E. Master Blenders, to develop strategic relationships with coffee farmers in Uganda as the government seeks to multiply the number of coffee trees in Uganda to increase productiopn.

Mbabazi told a visiting delegation from the coffee roasting giant here Thursday that the government hoped to reduce household poverty by encouraging agricultural zoning for specialised agricultural production.

D.E. Master Blenders, which has its headquarters in the Netherlands, is the third largest coffee roaster globally and is already operating in Luwero district in central Uganda, focusing on quality improvement, good agricultural practices and improved market access for participating farmer groups.

“I can assure you of total support to facilitate your partnership with farmers because our economy is private sector-led and I do not see this changing soon,” Mbabazi said.

He said proceeds from the country’s nascent oil industry would be used to boost agricultural production and value addition to enable Ugandan products to meet international standards.

Coffee is an important export product for Uganda, representing about 11 per cent of the total value of exports.

Luc Volatier, D.E. Master Blenders senior vice-president for operations, who led the delegation, said Uganda could exploit the global market through the company, whose coffee and tea products are sold in 45 countries.



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