Uganda’s coffee exports have continued to increase in both value and quantity, despite a ravaging pandemic, at the backdrop of adverse weather conditions and Covid-19 restrictions in the world’s biggest exporters like Brazil and supply disruptions around the world.
Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) data shows that the country exported 6.55 million bags of coffee worth $657.23 million in the year to October 2021, compared with 5.41 million in the same period last year, earning $513.79 million.
Next month, they project to export 500,000 bags as the main harvest season kicks off in the central and eastern parts of the country.
The increase in exports is attributed to government efforts in 2012 which saw millions of seedlings distributed to farmers to grow new bushes across the 98 coffee growing districts.
“Increasing exports were due to newly planted coffee which started yielding supported by favourable weather. This was also complimented by a positive trend in global coffee prices,” the report reads.
In some areas, however, unpredictable weather conditions, inadequate agricultural extension officers, low productivity, and low use of fertiliser remains a big hindrance to increased productivity.
Authorities in Uganda have already set an ambitious target of exporting at least 20 million bags of coffee annually by 2030, which will make the country the biggest exporter of the crop in the region.
The report notes that world market prices, which saw Uganda increase its exports value by 28 per cent in one year, have seen a positive trend since October despite some supply disruptions.
“Coffee prices have been going up since July 2021 as Brazil faced the threat of frost and high temperatures, while Vietnam faced a shortage of shipping containers because of Covid-19-related restrictions. This prompted exporters to release their stocks,” the report adds.
Italy maintained the highest market share of Uganda’s coffee imports followed by Algeria, Germany, the US and Belgium. Others were Sudan, Morocco, Egypt, and Kenya.
Global coffee exports for September totalled 10 million bags down by 4.9 percent from 10.59 million bags in September 2020. Exports for 2020/21 totalled 129 million bags, an increase of 1.2 percent compared with 127.36 million bags for 2019/20.