MARKUP Support Puts Uganda’s Cocoa on World Map
The cocoa sector in Uganda, although receiving less attention that the coffee value chain, has great potential which has not been exploited. MARKUP support to Semuliki Cooperative Union Limited is a step towards improving production, productivity, harvest and post-harvest quality practices and standards for the cocoa sector in Uganda and enabling it to market its cocoa abroad.
Semuliki is a cooperative that began as an association of farmers known as Bundibugyo Cocoa Association, which used to collect cocoa and sell to traders, but accessing good markets was challenging. Members therefore agreed to form a cooperative organisation led by Mr Balyesiima Methodius the current General Manager of Semuliki Cooperative. It was registered in 2015 and is currently made up of 27 member cooperatives supporting 11,850 individual farmers of which more than half are women. It covers Bundibugyo, Kagadi and Kibale districts in Western Uganda.
The union’s cooperation with MARKUP started in 2018 and since then, the programme has supported it to participate in international trade fairs including the Cocoa Expo in the Netherlands in June 2022. MARKUP has also facilitated training of the union’s members in international cocoa marketing, contract management, agroforestry, cocoa farm rehabilitation and quality improvement and distributed moisture meters to reduce wastage and losses.
The training and the exposure visits have enabled the cooperative to sign supply deals. Long term business partnerships have been formed with European cocoa importers and chocolate manufacturers who buy cocoa straight from the Cooperative. Additional 49 metric tons of organic specialty cocoa have also been shipped to Belgium with buyers showing appetite for more.
Today, Semuliki provides extension services, collective marketing, livelihood support, and financial services and is among the founders of the National Cocoa Platform.