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Uganda Wants to Make It Big in China’s Booming Coffee Market

Uganda, like many African countries, suffers from an enormous trade deficit with China. Last year, according to UN figures, Uganda exported just $40 million worth of goods to China but imported more than $1.3 billion in return. The government in Kampala knows this is not sustainable in the long run and is now taking measures to address the problem by leveraging one of its most valuable exports: coffee.

Uganda is looking to China to help quintuple the volume of coffee exports over the next five years. While that may sound ambitious, it may actually be achievable thanks to the surging demand for coffee in China’s largest and wealthiest cities.

Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, managing director of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, and Frandan Tumukunde, a farmer and coffee marketing expert with extensive experience in China, are part of the team that’s leading the effort to break into the Chinese market. Both join Eric & Cobus from Kampala to discuss how it’s going so far and what kind of challenges they’re up against.

Show Notes:

About Emmanuel Iyamulemye and Frandan Tumukunde:

Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira is the Managing Director of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), a government institution with the mandate to promote and oversee the coffee industry by supporting research, promoting production, controlling the quality, and improving the marketing of coffee in order to optimize foreign exchange earnings for the country and payments to the farmers. He holds a Ph.D. and MSc in Crop Science both obtained from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and MBA from Uganda Martyrs University. He has vast experience in agribusiness, strategic planning, and program management.

He previously worked as a Project coordinator of EU-funded Programmes in the Office of the Prime Minister and as a Programme Manager in Food Agriculture Organization (FAO). He also worked in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries in Uganda. He began his career in 1992 as a Research Officer in Coffee Research Unit at Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute.


Frandan Tumukunde is an agricultural enthusiast and social entrepreneur. Having grown up in a smallholder coffee-growing family back in Uganda, he has strong knowledge of Uganda’s coffee industry present and past. He owns a Ugandan coffee brand that sells Ugandan coffee across Asia

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