Coffee exports recover in May

An increase in robusta bean harvests pushed up Uganda’s coffee exports in May compared to the previous month when the quantity of bags exported fell to its lowest since October 2016.

The number of bags exported was 319,035 60-kg bags valued at $34m, up from 295,194 bags worth $32.7m in April, data from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority shows. Robusta bags were 218,752 worth $21.8m while 100,283 arabica bags worth $12.3m were exported.

Coffee is Uganda’s most valuable export commodity. In 2017 coffee exports were valued at $555.3m, which was 16.6% of total outbound shipments. However, gold exports surpassed coffee for the first time in April, bringing in $35.3m to coffees’ $32.7m.

The average weighted export price was lower in May compared to April at $1.78 per kilo, down from $1.85 the previous month. This was due to a fall in the average weighted price of arabica – $2.05 per kilo compared to $2.17 in April. Robusta beans, whose value accounted for 68.5% of total exports, fetched an average weighted price of $1.66 per kilo, three U.S. cents higher than in April.

The majority of exports, 202,205 bags or 64.3% of total shipments, was to the European Union, followed by Sudan with 10.9%, India with 6.8%, and the U.S.A with 5%. Exports to Africa were 48,095 bags, a market share of 15% compared to 55,621 (18.8%) bags the previous month.

On an annual basis, the value of coffee exports fell 27.6% in May, while quantity declined by 21.8%.

The coffee authority estimates that 380,000 bags will be exported this month as the main season in Masaka and South Western regions peaks.