By Dorothy Nakaweesi
Despite the climate change turbulences, Uganda’s coffee exports in both volume and value are predicted to increase this year, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), has observed.
Latest records from UCDA show that for the third month running into the calendar year both volume and value continued to improve for the month of December, 2016.
In December the country exported 424,451 60-kilogramme bags up from 408,027 exported the previous month. This indicated a 23.9 per cent increase in volume.
The month saw the country earn $51 million (Shs183 billion) up from $50 million (Shs180 billion) realised the previous month.
Experts say if this trend continues throughout the year, the country’s leading export commodity is destined for better crop yields and more earnings.
Speaking to Prosper Magazine about this performance, the executive director UCDA, said: “We are beginning to see the harvests from the coffee which was planted in central Uganda three years ago. This is responsible for the increasing volumes that we are experiencing.”
He said the outlook for the commodity gets better each week now registering more than 400,000 kilogrammes up from the previous records.
He also expressed optimism that the next month in the calendar year the country will continue to register good performance.
“Coffee exports for 12 months (January 2016 to December 2016) totalled 3.54 million bags. This was worth $371 million (Shs1.3 trillion),” UCDA records show.
Farmers contradict what UCDA is predicting saying because of the harsh weather condition the good performance is just a honeymoon to be enjoyed for a few months.
In an interview with Prosper Magazine about the performance, Mr Joseph Nkandu, the executive director, National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises, said: “The increase in volume that we see now is a strategic plan farmers usually do to prepare for the start of the school year. Majority of the farmers waited to sell the commodity that’s why we see that volumes have gone up.”
He said that because farmers are harvesting the crop late due to the weather changes, the volumes are now high.
Farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged Shs2, 350 per kilo; Arabica Shs6, 550 per kilo, and Drugar Shs6, 250.
At least 78.87 per cent of the total export volume was exported by 10 exporters, out of 30 who performed during the month compared to 77.93 per cent in November 2016.
The International Coffee Organisation composite Indicator price decreased from US cents 145.82 per lb. in November 2016 to US cents 131.70 per lb. in December 2016.
Source: The Monitor