Uganda exported a record of more than 6 million coffee bags in the financial year 2020-2021, the highest total for 12 months in 30 years.
Exports for Financial Year 20/21 were worth $559m (more than Shs1.9 trillion) compared to 5.11m bags worth $496m (about Shs1.7 trillion) in Financial Year19/20.
The figures were boosted by June’s 618,388 bags worth $58.56m (about Shs207b), which is also the highest in a single month. June exports had an increase of 47 per cent in quantity and value compared to the previous month, with Robusta figures shooting up, while Arabica slowing.
According to a monthly statement from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the increasing Robusta exports during the month compared to the previous year were due to newly planted coffee which started yielding supported by favourable weather.
A total of 565,449 bags of Robusta coffee valued at $50.25m (more than Shs177b) and 52,939 Arabica coffee bags valued at $8.31m (more than Shs29b) were exported respectively.
UCDA says in the report that this was also compounded by a positive trend in global coffee prices in the last two weeks of the month which prompted exporters to release their stocks on top of increased procurement.
The biggest consumer of Ugandan coffee in June was Italy that maintained the highest market share with 34.57 per cent compared with 37.02 per cent last month.
Germany comes next at a distant 13 per cent market share. Coffee exports to Africa amounted to 112,416 bags, a market share of 18 per cent compared to 69,349 bags the previous month.
Europe remained the main destination for Uganda’s coffees with 61 per cent import share.
Uganda as the leading coffee exporting country in Africa after Ethiopia, is well known for its production of Robusta coffee taking at least 80 per cent of the entire production and 20 per cent Arabica coffee.
Mr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, the managing director of UCDA said: “This was an increase of 47.04 per cent and 46.63 per cent in quantity and value compared to the same month last year.”
He said when you compare the quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (June 2020), Robusta increased by 63.89 per cent and 72.56 per cent in quantity and value respectively.
While Arabica exports decreased in both quantity and value by 29.93 per cent and 23.16 per cent respectively.
“The increasing Robusta exports in June 2021 compared to the previous year were due to newly planted coffee which started yielding supported by favourable weather,” Mr Iyamulemye said.
This, according to Mr Iyamulemye, was also compounded by a positive trend in global coffee prices in the last two weeks of the month which prompted exporters to release their stocks on top of increased procurement.
“Arabica monthly exports continued to reduce compared to the previous year attributed to the off-year biennial cycle characteristic of Arabica production,” UCDA report reads in apart. If this trend continues, experts say it is a good sign to the country’s desired export target of 20 million bags at least by 2035.
Ms Victoria Sekitoleko, the International Women in Coffee-Uganda Chapter president reacting to this performance said Uganda is on the course to the 20 million bags target.
“If the world was not manipulating us as far as the changes in coffee price is concerned. The coffee powder price has never fallen,” she said.
She said Uganda can benefit more from the increasing export volumes if she work towards better quality coffee beans.
“Looking at alternative markets is the other way, Uganda can benefit from the increased coffee volumes,” Ms Sekitoleko added.
World coffee exports amounted to 9.79 million bags in June 2021 compared to 10.89 million in May 2020.
The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) Composite Indicator price increased by 4.6 pe rcent to 141.03 US compared to 134.78 US cents in May 2021.
Global coffee production for 2020/21 is estimated to increase by 0.3 per cent to 169.5 million bags while the consumption is estimated to increase by 1.9 per cent to 167.24 million bags.
Coffee exports are projected to be 650,000 bags as the main harvesting period in Greater Masaka and South Western regions reaches its peak during the month.
Dry weather coupled with some rains will speed up ripening and procurement of the coffee from the countryside.