Coffee exports in March were 409,916 60-kilo bags worth $50.44 million, an increase of 65.12% and 118.62% in volume and value respectively compared to the same period in 2016, figures from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority show.
Coffee is Uganda’s single most valuable export commodity, contributing 19.9% to total export earnings in February.
Of the bags exported in March, 316,314 were of the Robusta variety and brought in $36.54 million, while 93,602 bags were of Arabica coffee sold for $13.90 million.
“Compared to the same month last year, Robusta exports increased by 90.38% while Arabica exports increased by 14.65%,” the UCDA report says. “Similarly, Robusta and Arabica values increased by 167.11% and 48.29% respectively compared to March 2016.”
Exports for the 12 months to 31 March were 3.90 million bags worth $439 million versus 3.54 million bags worth $365 million in the previous corresponding period. This represents a year-on-year rise in volume of 10.22% and increase in value of 20.43%.
The majority of exports, 58.28%, was to the European Union, followed by Sudan with 18% and Morocco with 6.04%. Total exports to African countries were 49,801 bags, a market share of 12.52%.
The report also notes that rains have resumed across the country – following a long dry spell – which enabled preparations for planting and revitalised crops that were stressed by the drought. Farmers in the central and northern regions took advantage of the rains to prepare their gardens for planting, while in the eastern region planting – though mostly of food crops – had started.
Still, the authority is projecting a fall in harvests in the eastern region in April and May due to a longer recovery period for stressed plants in badly hit areas. In the western region, Kyenjojo, Mubende and Hoima region had no rains, while planting was delayed in Kyegegwa and Kamwenge districts due to inadequate rainfall.