Uganda reports record coffee exports in 30 years

Hands holding freshly picked coffee beans ready to be dried. Uganda. (Photo by: Farm Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) reported its highest number of exports in a single year in 30 years for the 2020/2021 financial year despite the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UCDA said close to 6.1 million 60kg bags of coffee worth 559.26 million were exported. Those figures are up from 5,105,881 60kg bags valued at 496.28 million dollars the previous year.

Hands holding freshly picked coffee beans ready to be dried. (Photo by: Farm Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“The accomplishment is attributed to increased yields from newly planted coffee, favourable weather and a positive trend in global coffee,” the UCDA said in a newsletter.

Additionally, Uganda ended the month of June having exported 618,388 60 kg bags of coffee worth $58.56 million in export earnings, a record figure registered in a single month since 1991.

These figures represented an increase of 47.04 percent and 46.63 percent in quantity and value, respectively compared to the same month last year, according to the UCDA.

June’s quantities of coffee sold comprised 565,449 bags of Robusta valued at $50.25 million (Sh180 billion) and 52,939 bags of Arabica valued at $8.31 million (Sh30 billion).

The news comes ahead of the East African country’s main harvesting period this month.

The UCDA noted that it remained on course to achieve its target of producing 20 million bags of coffee by 2025 adding that more success was expected through bilateral agreements which would build “structured demand”.

“We have just completed a coffee promotions strategy for China that will enable us to penetrate the China market. We are also targeting the UK following a stakeholders meeting in May with coffee roasters, processors and exporters, and representatives from the British High Commission to explore opportunities for exporting processed coffee. Plans are underway to actualize the outcomes of the meeting,” the newsletter added.

Last month, more than 5,000 farmers in nine districts in Uganda’s Elgon region were beneficiaries of a coffee rehabilitation programme to boost coffee productivity.

“Better harvests mean more incomes for farmers and improved livelihoods. The programme will roll out to other parts of the country to build a culture among coffee farmers to stump old coffee trees in addition to increasing coffee production.”