The State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi has revealed that Egyptian investors have expressed interest in adding value to coffee in Uganda.
In a meeting held at Radisson Blu hotel in the Egyptian capital, Cairo on Thursday, the chairman Mac Optic Investment, Dr. Ahmed Radwan noted that the taste of Ugandan coffee is undisputedly world acclaimed.
He says that they would love to establish local processing plants in Uganda.
“We are very interested in investing in value addition of the Ugandan coffee sector because we trust our resources, abilities, ideas, plans and projects since we have the best experts in their own fields to reach the highest standards,” Radwan said.
With a tagline; “we build the future”, Mac Optic Investment runs a strong chain of food and beverage plants with more than 20 projects around the world says the chairman.
Radwan added that their investment would extend to agricultural extension to build on yields and handling of the harvest for quality purposes.
The company also has investments in the hospitality sector with luxury villas and apartments in Greece, in Egypt.
They also own the Mac Oil refinery and Petrochemicals the company, which boasts the largest refining capacity in Egypt of an estimated the capacity of 250,000 barrels per day, Mac gas and they are about to establish two Power Plants with 225 megawatts each, for industrial supply purposes.
In nearby South Sudan, the company holds licenses for two oil concession areas while in Sudan they own cement and sugar plants. They also have a presence in Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Radwan revealed to Minister Nakiwala Kiyingi that they seek to increase their presence across the globe from the current 18 offices to 30 by 2020, and Uganda remains a key target area for them because of its renowned coffee production.
Nakiwala pledged to support the company to establish in Uganda noting that the coffee industry has grown stronger over the years due to deliberate programs by the government.
She revealed that Uganda remains among the largest producing and exporting countries of coffee in the world. Coffee is also celebrated as Uganda’s third foreign exchange earner after tourism and remittances.
However, the country is currently facing a stance resistance of the proposal under the draft coffee bill to have all coffee farmers’ issues with licenses as part of the regulation.
The National coffee bill, 2018, seeks to ensure quality in the coffee sector and it will replace Uganda coffee development authority (UCDA) Act 199, which was only limited to covering the marketing and processing stages of coffee.
Currently, Uganda produces about 4.6 million 60-kilogram-bags of coffee annually while Brazil, which is the world’s a leading producer churns out between 55 and 60 million sixty-kilogram-bags annually.
Uganda’s production increased from 2.7million 60-kilogram-bags of coffee that were registered in the financial year 2011/12.
The meeting was attended by Uganda’s ambassador to Egypt, Sam Sebuliba, who commended the resolutions reached saying it would go a long way in strengthening the already flourishing trade and other lines of relationships between Uganda and Egypt.
After the meeting, the Minister and her team were taken on a guided tour of some of Mac Optic Investment’s plants in Cairo.