Uganda’s Coffee Exports to Turkey Soar as Embassy Intensifies Commercial Diplomacy

Uganda’s coffee industry has made a significant breakthrough in the Turkish market, with exports increasing by a remarkable 2,200% between 2019 and 2024. From a modest 2000 bags (120 tons) in 2019, coffee exports to Turkey surged to 44,000 bags (2,640 tons) in 2024. This impressive growth is attributed to the Uganda Mission in Turkey’s strategic shift in approaching investment, trade, and tourism. By focusing on Uganda’s major product that Turkey cannot easily substitute – coffee – the Mission successfully tapped into the Turkish market’s growing demand for high-quality coffee.

“Turkey offers a significant opportunity for Ugandan coffee exporters, with its large population and growing economy making it an attractive market,” said Counselor Julius Mwijutsya, in charge of Economic and Commercial Diplomacy at the Uganda Embassy in Ankara. He added: “Given Turkey’s economic potential and Uganda’s goal to expand its coffee exports, we concentrated on establishing a strong presence in the Turkish market. Our efforts yielded impressive results, with coffee exports from Uganda to Turkey increasing from 2000 bags in 2019 to 44,000 bags in 2023”. Ugandan coffee has gained popularity in Turkey due to its excellent intrinsic quality characteristics, with many coffees suitable for differentiated markets. In particular, there is a strong demand for Robusta coffees, especially Screen 18 and Screen 15, which Uganda can supply. The Uganda Embassy in Ankara has been actively promoting Ugandan coffee in Turkey and has participated in the Coffex International Coffee Exhibition in Istanbul.

Embassy’s efforts have helped raise awareness about Ugandan coffee and its unique characteristics. “Turkey’s tourism industry is particularly noteworthy, with cities like Istanbul and Antalya, attracting millions of visitors each year,” Counselor Mwijutsya noted. “In fact, Istanbul was the most visited city in the world in 2023, with over 20 million tourists, followed by London, Dubai, and Antalya.” The country’s coffee consumption has increased fourfold in the last 10 years, with per capita consumption standing at 1.7 kg in 2023. This significant increase in coffee exports to Turkey has substantial economic benefits for Uganda. Using the current market price in Uganda of 6000 shillings per kilogram, the value of these exports can be estimated, highlighting the significant economic benefits of the strategic partnership between Uganda and Turkey. “To put this achievement into perspective, let’s consider the volume and value of these exports. The 44,000 bags of coffee translate to approximately 2614 tonnes. Using the current market price in Uganda of 6000 shillings per kilogram, we can estimate the value of these exports. This calculation highlights the significant economic benefits of our strategic partnership with Turkey,” said Mwijutsya, who ends his tour of duty at the end of June, 2024. 

The potential revenue gains are substantial, with estimates suggesting that Uganda’s coffee exports to Turkey could reach USD 1.5 billion by 2025. This would not only boost Uganda’s economy but also solidify its position as a major player in the global coffee market. Mwijutsya also believes his successor, an experienced senior diplomat, will continue the progressive trend. “Our mission’s strategic plan is designed to ensure continuity and sustained progress in our economic and commercial diplomacy efforts. With dedicated professionals at the helm, I am assured that our collaboration with Turkey will flourish, driving growth and prosperity for both nations,” he said.  With the support of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he believes Ugandan coffee can establish a strong presence in the Turkish market and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Republic of Uganda – Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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