TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Ugandan coffee firm eyes AGOA market

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Source: East African Business Week (Kampala)

A Ugandan coffee firm with active markets in the United Kingdom, Uganda and South Africa, is now eying the lucrative African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) market.

Good African Coffee, which operates a modern roasting, processing and packaging facility, believes that it is time for Africans to process and market their own products globally and use trade as a means to bring about the sustainable development so desperately needed by the farmers and communities.

But despite its ambitious plans, Good African like any other enterprising company is faced with challenges of unlocking the potential.

"The market is there, the demand is there, but how do you break into it" Andrew Rugasira, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Good African Coffee pondered during the factory visit by AGOA Country Response office senior officials.

"Entering new markets is not a problem as the resources. It needs high investment in marketing. But insufficient working capital limits growth potential. We need affordable long term capital"

Long shipment and border payments delays limited market expansion, cash requirements for crop finance, farmer support operations and processing infrastructure are other barriers cited in unlocking the potential.

Rugasira says a number of opportunities lie ahead like expansion of orders from United Kingdom, investment in a medium sized plant of 800-1000 tonnes at a cost of $8m and enormous potential to compete and gain market share from Nescafe.

While visiting the Good African Coffee factory in Kampala on October 5, Uganda's Special Presidential Assistant on AGOA and Trade, Susan Muhwezi, said the AGOA Country response office will stress to Government the need for companies like Good African Coffee to break into the market.

Muhwezi said companies like Good African need guarantees from Government and Central Bank.

"To break into American market, you need Government support. An instant coffee plant is in line with AGOA's objectives of adding value to raw materials," Muhwezi said.

Good African Coffee owned by a Ugandan entrepreneur, Andrew Rugasira, is available in Waitrose supermarkets across the UK cally taken place outside Africa.

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