Background

The Sudan is one of Uganda’s major coffee export markets. Uganda exports on average over 0.8m bags of coffee annually to Sudan, making it the leading importer of our coffee in Africa for the last 15 years.

In May 2015, communication was received from the Sudan Standards Metrology Organization (SSMO) about the new regulations regarding the pre-shipment inspection of commodities imported into the Sudan which included coffee.

 

Background

The Sudan is one of Uganda’s major coffee export markets. Uganda exports on average over 0.8m bags of coffee annually to Sudan, making it the leading importer of our coffee in Africa for the last 15 years.

In May 2015, communication was received from the Sudan Standards Metrology Organization (SSMO) about the new regulations regarding the pre-shipment inspection of commodities imported into the Sudan which included coffee. The inspections are to be done against a new green coffee grading standard - (SDS: 1605.2015) for coffee imports. In comparison to the Uganda coffee grading system and SCAA green coffee grading protocol, it differs in several parameters such as coffee grades, moisture content and requires testing for agricultural chemical residues, radioactivity, microbiological and biochemical contaminants.

The Communication from SSMO gave the following three options for the coffee from Uganda to enter The Sudan:

  1. International Surveyor certificate from International Surveyor Companies registered by SSMO;
  2. International Surveyor certificate approved by the National Standards Body of the country of origin and,
  3. Certificate from an international accredited laboratory approved by the National Standards Body of the Country of origin.

Further to this, the Republic of the Sudan appointed an inspecting company (Bureau Veritas) to carry out pre-shipment inspection of the Uganda coffee exports to Sudan. Unfortunately their laboratories are located in Mombasa, Kenya, which the time and expense of analysis makes Ugandan coffee non competitive.

These developments would pause a serious setback for Uganda coffee export to Sudan.

Uganda’s Response

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives directed the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), UCDA and stakeholders to establish a technical committee to review the standards, MOU between UNBS and SSMO and develop a road map that would ensure compliance to the new standards.

The technical committee and stakeholders recommended that a meeting be held between Uganda and Sudan to negotiate extension of the 6 months grace period, to allow exports continue and enough time to ensure compliance as well as review the MOU. The grace period was expiring on Wednesday June 14th, 2016. The Uganda delegation comprised of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC), UNBS and Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) held a meeting with SSMO officials on 8th June 2016 in Khartoum, Sudan.

Outcome of the Meeting

The meeting was concluded with the following agreed recommendations / conclusions

  1. Sudan Standards Metrology Organization (SSMO) to grant Uganda a two year grace period for building capacity for meeting requirements and the two parties to exchange information on safety parameters.
  2. UNBS committed to assess their capacity to analyze safety requirements by 30th June 2016
  3. UNBS committed to work on improving additional labs (third parties) capable of inspecting and testing get coffee exports to Sudan.
  4. During the two year grace period all parameters other than safety parameters will be assessed for each consignment shipped to Sudan by UNBS or other laboratories recognized by UNBS.
  5. SSMO will visit Uganda to activate the signed MOU under the invitation of UNBS and UCDA.
  6. The MOU was reviewed and signed by both parties.

 

 

 

Conclusion

It is fundamental that Uganda works towards improving the quality of our coffee exports as well as that sold on the domestic market. In this regard, UCDA and UNBS will work on improving the physical and safety parameters for our tradable coffee. Secondly, Government will work towards improving the quality and standards infrastructure for testing all parameters including all safety and physical parameters for coffee as well as other tradable products. These interventions will result in the increased competitiveness of Ugandan products in the domestic, regional and international markets.

UNBS and UCDA will also work with the Private Sector coffee traders in building capacities for processing and testing coffee in order to meet the quality and standards requirements as set out in the SDS: 1605.2015. Government will continue cooperation with the Republic of the Sudan in ensuring that we achieve the set goals.

Download: Sudan Okays Ugandan Coffee

 Uganda Export Promotion Board Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority Management Training and Advisory Centre Uganda National Bureau of Standards Uganda Industrial Research Institute