Rise in Uganda coffee exports earns $657m

Uganda’s coffee exports have increased in value and quantity despite a ravaging pandemic, despite adverse weather conditions, Covid-19 restrictions in the world’s largest exporters such as Brazil, and global supply disruptions.

According to Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) data, the country exported 6.55 million bags of coffee worth $657.23 million in the year to October 2021, up from 5.41 million bags worth $513.79 million in the same period last year.

They expect to export 500,000 bags next month as the main harvest season begins in the country’s central and eastern regions.

The increase in exports is attributed to government efforts in 2012, when millions of seedlings were distributed to farmers to help them establish new coffee bushes across the country’s 98 coffee growing districts.

“The increase in exports was attributed to newly planted coffee that began producing as a result of favourable weather. This was aided further by an upward trend in global coffee prices,” the report states.

However, in some areas, unpredictable weather conditions, insufficient agricultural extension officers, low productivity, and insufficient fertiliser use continue to be significant impediments to increased productivity.

Ugandan authorities have already set an ambitious goal of exporting at least 20 million bags of coffee annually by 2030, making the country the region’s largest exporter of the crop.

The report notes that global market prices, which helped Uganda increase the value of its exports by 28% in a year, have been trending upward since October, despite supply disruptions.

“Coffee prices have increased steadily since July 2021, as Brazil faced the threat of frost and extreme heat, and Vietnam faced a container shortage due to Covid-19-related restrictions. This resulted in exporters releasing their inventories,” the report adds.

Italy continued to dominate Uganda’s coffee imports, followed by Algeria, Germany, the United States, and Belgium. Sudan, Morocco, Egypt, and Kenya were also included.

Global coffee exports totalled 10 million bags in September, a decrease of 4.9 percent from 10.59 million bags in September 2020. Exports totalled 129 million bags in 2020/21, up 1.2 percent from 127.36 million bags in 2019/20.

Read more • theeastafrican.co.ke

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