Coffee exports in July rose 0.81% month-on-month, but fell 33.33% year-on-year, according to figures from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority. The value of the exports, on the other hand, gained 1.98% month-on-month and fell 37.02% year-on-year.
268,490 60-kilo bags of coffee worth $27.06 million were exported by Uganda last month, compared to 402,721 bags worth $42.95 million in the same period last year. In June, 266,337 bags worth $26.53 million were exported.
Coffee is Uganda’s most valuable export, contributing 11.75% to total exports value in May 2016 and 13.68% between April 2015 and March 2016.
Most of the coffee exported in the month, 78.96% of total exports, went to the European Union. Sudan, India, and the USA followed with a market share of 7.30%, 4.54%, and 3.87% respectively. The USA was however the second largest buyer of Uganda’s Arabica crop after the European Union, with a total share of 20.32% compared to the EU’s 73.81%.
The reduction in total volume exported in July 2016 compared to July 2015 was due to a decrease in Robusta coffee exports caused by “drought conditions experienced in Masaka and South Western regions,” according to UCDA. Uganda produces the cheaper Robusta crop in much larger quantities than Arabica coffee. Robusta exports in July 2016 comprised 81.56% of total volume (218,983 bags) and 77.28% ($20.90 million) of total value.
Compared to July 2015, the total volume of Robusta exports fell 37.28% while Arabic exports declined 7.56%. “In terms of value, Robusta decreased by 40.28% while Arabica decreased by 22.65%,” according to UCDA.
For the 12 months to July 2016, 3.42 million bags worth $336 million were exported, compared to 3.33 million bags worth $408 million in the same period last year – a 2.70% increase in total volume and 17.65% fall in total value.
UCDA, which oversees the coffee industry in the country, estimates that four million bags of coffee will be exported this coffee year, which ends in September. It is also hoping for a higher output – 4.2 million bags – in the coming coffee year.
The higher output will be realised from new coffee trees planted in recent years that are coming into harvest, an official with the regulator told Bloomberg. He also said the weather has been favourable to the crop, unlike the drought experienced over the last two years.
It also hopes to increase coffee production to 20 million 60-kilo bags by 2020, in line with government targets. 300 million coffee seedlings will be distributed and planted in the 2016/17 financial year to realise the target, according to UCDA.
Uganda is Africa’s largest coffee exporter and second largest producer after Ethiopia, which consumes most of its coffee.
UCDA estimates that 265,000 bags of coffee will be exported in August.