Gold, coffee, fish dominate half year exports earnings

Thursday September 12 2019

President Museveni while at the launc

President Museveni while at the launch of African Gold Refinery. Export earnings from gold continue to increase, according to Bank of Uganda. FILE PHOTO  

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

KAMPALA- Uganda earned approximately Shs9.1 trillion from exports in the seven months leading to July with gold, coffee and fish dominating.

Data from Bank of Uganda indicates that export receipts in the period between January and July 2019 grossed $2.5b (Shs9.1 trillion) with $1.9b (Shs7.1 trillion) of the earnings coming from non-coffee exports.

Export receipts from gold pooled in $834m (Shs3 trillion) thus making it the leading individual foreign exchange earner for Uganda.
“In this period, a total of 18,870 kilogrammes of gold were exported out of the country,” the reported noted.

Mr John Lwere, the Uganda Export Promotion Board trade and information executive, said they had no immediate explanation for the good performance of gold, noting: “We are still studying the trends in performance of a new player in the gold refinery activities in the country [Bullion Refinery Limited].”

Gold has become one of Uganda’s major export with the country riding on its growing earning for about five years now.
In 2017, President Museveni launched a $20m African Gold Refinery in Entebbe, which at the time was said to have capacity to process up to 300 kg of gold weekly.

Mr Lwere said the gold trend might be resulting from improved activity in processing.
Most of Uganda’s gold is exported to the Middle East with the United Arab Emirates being the main market.
In the period under review, coffee earned $246m (Shs905b) with at least 2.4 million kilogramme bags shipped out the country in the period.
Uganda is Africa’s leading coffee exporter and among the top 10 global producers. However, the commodity has for a year suffered a persistent drop in prices at the international market.


Coffee export receipts have subsequently declined in the last 10 months (October-July) earning the country $355m from $397m earned in the same period of the coffee calendar.

Mr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the Uganda Coffe Development Authority executive director, said coffee exports have been increasing, which is good for the country to realising its target of exporting 20 million bags by 2025.

Fish, which a few years ago had been one of Uganda’s biggest export, has in the last three years shown signs of recovery, earning Uganda $106m (Shs390b) between January and July.

At least a total 17,541 tonnes were exported mainly to European Union, US, China and parts of the region mainly in DR Congo.
Recently, Mr Sujal Goswami, the Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association chairman, told Daily Monitor that government’s intervention to rid the industry of illegal fishing methods had started to pay off.

At least 36 fish factories closed between 2013 and 2016 but 13 of these have reopened due to improving stocks.