Kampala. Coffee, Uganda’s leading export commodity, has exhibited a decline in both volume and value for the last 12 months.
Experts in the industry say this is not a good sign for the country’s general exports performance and it shrink farmers’ purchasing power.
The latest report from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) shows that on a year-on-year basis between December 2013 and November 2014, 3.48 million bags worth Shs1.1 trillion ($405 million) were exported.
This performance exhibited a decline from the 3.65 million bags worth $430 million (Shs1 trillion) earned the same period from December 2012 to November 2013,” the report noted.
From December 2013 to November 2014 and between December 2012 and November 2013, there was a 4.8 per cent and 6.1 per cent decline in both volume and value, respectively.
Reacting to the poor performance, National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe)’s executive director Joseph Nkandu attributes this performance to the dry spell that was experienced through the year.
“Also the existence of the Black Twig Borer weevil which continues to be a major threat to Robusta growing regions is affective volumes,” Mr Nkandu said.
However, in an effort to curb this threat, UCDA has delivered chemicals for method demos to all districts in the Intervention areas, and spraying will start this January in some areas.
“At least 20 motorised spray pumps were procured for more effective spray impact and also to speed up the exercise,” the report noted.
According to the report, in November which is the second on the coffee calendar, the country exported 219,948-kilo bags worth $29.49 million (Shs81 billion).
This comprised 159,147 bags ($ 17.97 million) of Robusta and Arabica coffee, 60,801 bags ($ 11.52 million).
“Robusta exports decreased by 13.83 percent in volume and increased by 1.07 per cent in terms of value compared to the same period last year 2013/14. Similarly, Arabica exports decreased by 23.1 per cent and increased by 29.9 per cent in value compared to last year,” the report noted.
The weighted average international export price was $2.23 (Shs6, 244)-Robusta exports accounted for 72 per cent of total exports. The average Robusta price was $1.88 (Shs5,170) per kilo, $0.1 lower than in October 2014.
The report notes that the highest price was for washed Arabica which was at $4.19 (Shs11,732) per kilo followed by Mt Elgon A+ at $4.02 (Shs11,256) per kilo.
Local prices during this month, farm gate prices were in the range of: Shs2, 000 – 2,300 per kilo of Kiboko (Robusta dry cherries); Shs4, 000 – 4,500 for FAQ; Arabica parchment was sold between Shs6, 500-7,000 per kilo.
Drugar from Kasese was in the range of Shs6,000 to Shs6,500 per Kilo.
“The decrease in the price was in line with the fall in global prices,” the report noted.
Global coffee exports for the first month of 2014/15 coffee year (October) totaled 8.9 million bags, a 0.5 per cent higher than the same month last year. Coffee exports in the first 10 months for 2014 amounted to 95 million bags, 0.7 per cent higher than last year. This was attributed to strong exports from Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam.
Percentage decline in the value of coffee exports between December 2013 and November 2014.
Amount of money that coffee exports earned the country between December 2013 and November 2014.