Ugandan coffee receipts close to the $1bn mark

Saturday December 30 2023

A display of different coffee types grown in Uganda. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG


Uganda’s coffee export earnings moved closer to the $1 billion dollar mark in 2023 amidst a notable increase in production volumes and improved coffee prices witnessed during the second half of the year coupled with intense competition among foreign buyers.

Total coffee export revenues rose from $883.3 million during the period November 2021-October 2022 to $952.24 million during the period November 2022-October 2023 according to latest data published by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

Total coffee production similarly rose from 5.83 million, 60-kilogramme bags to 6.16 million, 60-kilogramme bags during the same period.

Robusta coffee harvests retained dominance in the production basket, accounting for more than 70 percent of the country’s overall coffee output.

Read: Falling coffee prices rattle Uganda farmers

Local coffee prices experienced notable growth during the second half of 2023; a sign of rising global demand and positive quality assessments tied to the country’s coffee crop. Average coffee prices for Robusta Kiboko coffee stood at Ush3,900 ($1.03) per kilogramme in October 2023 while Fair Average Quality Robusta coffee fetched Ush7,650 ($2) per kilo during the same period.


The average market price for Arabica parchment stood at Ush9,250 ($2.45) per kilo in October while Drugar fetched Ush8,250 ($2.20) per kilo, the UCDA report shows.

Competition among coffee buyers apparently triggered a slight decline in the overall muscle attributed to dominant, overseas coffee traders.

“The top 10 buyers held a market share of 67 percent of total exports, lower than 71 percent the previous month. Louis Dreyfus led with a market share of 13.93 percent compared with 8.93 percent in September 2023. There were changes in the relative positions of the first 10 major buyers reflecting competition among buyers due to continued demand for Uganda coffee abroad…”reads part of the report.

Other leading foreign coffee buyers in the Ugandan market are Sucafina with an 11.02 percent market share followed by Volcafe with 8.7 percent. Olam International holds a 7.37 percent market share in the foreign coffee buyers’ market while Bernhard Rothfos holds a 6.86 percent share.

Italy is the largest consumer of Uganda coffee with a 28.95 percent share of volumes followed by Germany with 17.19 percent inOctober 2023. Others include Spain, India and Algeria with market share of 9.74 percent, 7.4 percent and 5.56 percent respectively.

Read: Uganda turns to N. Africa for milk market

“Erratic supply patterns, climate change and increased domestic coffee consumption in some leading producer countries led to higher coffee prices during the second half of 2023. For example, Brazil produces about 60 million bags of coffee per year but is delivering only 18 million bags to the international market today while the balance is consumed locally. Uganda coffee output levels and export revenues might remain quite stable next year because of reasonable demand patterns in the international market towards Ugandan coffee,” says Robert Byaruhanga, Managing Director at Funzo Coffee Ltd.

“Coffee prices are likely to increase further as more people join the parchment business as well,” said Aziz Kasirye, a local coffee supplier.

Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd was ranked the country’s biggest coffee exporter with a market share of 16.39 percent by end of October 2023 followed by Louis Dreyfus Company Uganda Ltd with a 14.01 percent market share.

Other leading exporters are Ugacof Uganda Ltd with a 10.66 percent market share while Ideal Quality Commodities Ltd holds a 9.15 percent market share. Olam Uganda Ltd held a market share of 7.37 percent by close of October 2023 according to UCDA figures.

“Most of the new coffee farmers received their tree seedlings through government programmes. But issues of seed varieties and planting techniques were never properly addressed by the relevant authorities. As a result, many of the coffee tree seedlings allocated by government got stunted after two years in the garden and the affected farmers have given up. But nonetheless, coffee remains the biggest crop earner in this country,” observed Sam Mugenyi, a coffee farmer and hotel owner.