Thursday June 19 2014

Coffee exports slow down in May

A coffee farmer picks ripe berries. Uganda

A coffee farmer picks ripe berries. Uganda coffee exports declined in May on account of diseases. FILE PHOTO 

By Dorothy Nakaweesi


Uganda’s coffee sector suffered a setback in the month ending May, registering a decline in both exports and value.

Experts in the industry say one of the major reasons responsible for the low volumes was the black coffee twig borer pest.

In their monthly report, Uganda Coffee Development Authority said: “It has been noted that during the rains, the rate of disease spread increases due to the high moisture levels, un-pruned coffee and heavy shades from trees”.

In May, which is the eighth month on the coffee calendar, the country’s exports amounted to 286,668 bags worth $35.91 million (about Shs91.9 billion). This was far less than the 336,676 bags worth $41.07 million (Shs104 billion) earned in April.

According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), the monthly average composite indicator price for May decreased to US cents/lb 163.94 from US cents 170.58 in April and US cents 165.03 in March 2014.

“Although the uncertainty of the Brazilian crop as a result of drought has been the driving force for higher prices in the recent months, there remain sufficient stocks within the supply chain,” the report explained.
Of the total exports in May (286,668 kilogrammes) comprised 210,489 bags ($23.48 million) of Robusta and 76,179 bags ($12.43 million) of Arabica.

“Robusta decreased by 26.90 per cent and 29.46 per cent in volume and value respectively, while Arabica decreased by 27.07 per cent and 16.10 per cent in volume and value respectively compared to the same period last year 2012/13,” the UCDA report said.