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Uganda Registers Increase In Coffee Exports

Sacks of ready coffee for export at Ankole Coffee Producers Union, positioned the 27th in May coffee exporters. (Photo by Joshua Nahamya)

UGANDA – Uganda has again registered an increase in coffee exports in June 2021, despite an overall contraction in international trade as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A report from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) yesterday indicates that Uganda bagged a total of 618,388 60 kilo bags of coffee valued at US$ 58.56million which were exported in June 2021 at an average weighted price of US$ 1.58kilo,1cent lower than US$ 1.59/kilo in May 2021.

This is the second time Uganda is recording an increase in coffee export as the country registered an increase of 477,561 60-kilogram bags worth US $45.87M [Shs 171bn] in March 2020.

However, according to Dr. Lyamulemye Emmanuel, the Managing Director, UCDA, this is the first time Uganda is recording the highest amount of coffee ever exported in a single month since 1991.

“I am pleased to report that in Financial Year 2020/21 the coffee sub-sector rose above the year’s challenges to record the highest number of exports. In June alone, Uganda exported 618,388 60 kg bags of coffee worth US$ 58.56 million and now a total of 6.1 million 60 kg bags of coffee worth US$ 559.26 million in a single month in 30 years.” Says Lyamulemye

He says the export figures represent an increase of 47.04% and 46.63% in quantity and value respectively compared to the same month last year.

“By comparing quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last coffee year (June2020), Robusta increased by 63.89% and 72.56% in quantity and value respectively, while Arabica exports decreased in both quantity and value by 29.93% and 23.16% respectively” says Lyamulemye

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) Composite Indicator price increased by 4.6% to 141.03US cents/lbin June 2021 from US cents/lb134.78US cents/lbin May 2021.

According to UCDA’s Managing Director, accomplishment is attributed to increased yields from newly planted coffee, favorable weather and a positive trend in global coffee.

He says the government’s effort in supplying over 1.5 billion seedlings as an addition to the already existing 220 million coffee plantings has tremendously led to the increase of coffee exportation.

“Over the last five years, the government has deliberately been delivering free coffee seedlings to the farmers and many of them who took on the planting have now increased the production. But the increase also came with more support in extension services by providing farmers with knowledge to understand that coffee is a business which can actually transform their livelihood” Lyamulemye explains

He also says that Uganda’s coffee earned a high demand in international countries as many people do survive on it during Covid-19.

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“Whereas all over US were moving in a lockdown, people in Italy and United States who were used to drinking coffee in the restaurants were actually having home deliveries and that brought more volumes from Ugandan market of coffee” says Lyamulemye

UCDA is a statutory body established to facilitate increase in quality coffee production, productivity, and consumption. So, the increase of export is part of the journey to Uganda Coffee Development Authority’s milestone says Dr Lyamulemye.

We appreciate our stakeholders including the smallholder farmers, processors, traders, roasters, exporters and consumers of Uganda coffee for this feat. My appreciation also goes out to the UCDA staff who work tirelessly to ensure that we are an agency that is firmly in control of its future and its aspiration to achieve the target of producing 20 million bags by 2025.” he said.

Lyamulemye however says the coffee sector still suffers with lack of enough containers for coffee loading during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had a challenge of few containers to load coffee. This was because cargo trucks were being delayed at the borders as drivers were being tested for Covid-19”

UCDA anticipates that in a year 2025-2030 Uganda should reach the 20million bags a year export target with this financial year’s 600 million bags representing 30% of estimate.

“In the next five years, we want to see coffee exports reaching 20 million bags. We want to phase out the distribution of seedlings and focus on productivity per tree. We also want to see Ugandans appreciating a cup of coffee and the consumption moving from the current 6% per capita to 15%. It is our dream as UCDA to see Ugandans walking on the streets and in villages feeling proud to be involved in the coffee value chain”.  Lyamulemye emphasized.

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