Uganda’s coffee exports have defied coronavirus market disruptions for a straight second month recording growth in value and volume.
The Uganda Coffee Development Authority last week released data that shows that the country’s coffee exports between March 2020 and February 2021 totalled 5.56 million bags worth $511.21 million, from 4.74 million bags worth $459.47 million the previous year, representing 17 per cent and 11 per cent increase in quantity and value respectively.
In February, Uganda exported 563,763 60-kg bags of coffee worth $50.55 million.
According to Minister of Agriculture Vincent Ssempijja, the recent growth in exports is attributed to increased production in the country’s coffee growing regions, and the streamlining of transport and logistics from the farms to the market despite travel restrictions.
He added that during that period, many exporters had decided to keep their stock at warehouses until the market situation changed.
“For example, during the lockdown, moving the coffee from the farms to the port was difficult. What explains the constant rise these few months is that we have addressed the issue of logistics, delays and bureaucracy at the Mombasa port,” he said.
Since April last year, the country started posting an increase in the number of coffee bags being exported each month following a partial lifting of lockdown measures in countries that buy Uganda’s coffee.
On paper, Uganda has an ambitious target of exporting 20 million bags of coffee by 2022, which would put the country in a position to compete with large coffee powerhouses such as Ethiopia, Vietnam and Brazil.