Tuesday June 17 2014

Cocoa farmers reap big from high global prices

Mr Semei Mumbere, an organic cocoa farmer in Bundibugyo. He has 3,015 plants.

Mr Semei Mumbere, an organic cocoa farmer in Bundibugyo. He has 3,015 plants. PHOTO BY DOROTHY NAKAWEESI. 

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

As the global cocoa prices continue trending northwards, Uganda is one of the producing countries reaping the benefits. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a 6.9 per cent increase in prices of each tonne traded at the global market.

According to the international price, currently a tonne of cocoa is sold at $3,030 (Shs7.7 million) up from $2,819 (Shs6 million) it sold in January this year. The cocoa and tea coordinator at the ministry of Agriculture, Mr John Muwanga, said: “Uganda produces prime cocoa and this means we are benefiting from the global prices.”

Mr Muwanga said Ugandan farmers at the moment have seen a rise in the farm-gate prices up from Shs4,500-Shs5,000 to the current Shs6,500 to Shs7,000 per kilogramme of Cocoa sold to the exporters.

The country’s production has gone up to 20,000 tonnes up from last year’s 19,630 tonnes. This means if a tonne costs $3030 at the global market, Uganda’s earnings this year will be $60.6 million (Shs154.5 billion) up from last year’s $46.6 million (Shs114 billion) earnings.

Mr Christopher Ssembuya, a cocoa farmer in Mukono with more than 300 acres of land occupied by 120,000 cocoa trees, said annually they harvest about 15 tonnes of cocoa which at the current price fetches them about $45,450 (Shs115.8 million).

He said this could be more than what he would be producing if there were government assigned extension services to help them improve on the quantities and quality.