What you need to know:
Uganda exported sugar worth $12 m (Shs46.2b) down from $19m (Shs73b) earned in June according to Bank of Uganda.
Uganda’s sugar export revenues in the month of July suffered a 58.3 percent decline from an earlier three-month recovery, a latest Bank of Uganda (BoU) report has shown.
According to the BoU report, the country exported sugar worth $12 million (Shs46.2b) down from $19m (Shs73b) earned in June.
Equally, the decline in value has been attributed to the scarcity of cane which has forced manufacturers to reduce the volumes they export and force more on the local demand.
During July, according to Bank of Uganda, sugar export volume declined by 68.7 percent, dropping to 16,604 tonnes down from 26,687, 26,697 and 27,391 tonnes recorded in April, May and June respectively.
Industrial players attribute the decline in export earnings to the fewer volumes shipped.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Wilberforce Mubiru, the secretary general Uganda Sugar Manufactures Association (USMA) said: “There is cane scarcity in Busoga region which is the leading producing region. 30 percent of farmers went out of cane production citing low prices.”
Mr Mubiru further said that because of the scarcity of cane, processors have been forced to operate below capacity thus cutting back on exports to concentrate on producing for the local market.
“Processors cannot keep on exporting and ignore the demand from the local market,” Mubiru said.
Due to the scarcity, prices of cane have increased to Shs165,000 per tonne, up from Shs90,000 it cost at the beginning of the year.
Despite the rise in cane prices, there are no raw materials to run the factories to full capacity. Ideally, it takes 18 months to grow and harvest a mature cane which is fit for sugar production.
“This will take some time for the canes to mature for those farmers who have gone back into production. This means the scarcity will still be with us for some months,” Mubiru said.
According to Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association officials, exports had gone up, noting they are now exporting to Burundi, DR Congo, South Sudan and Kenya, but with some restrictions.
Sugar exports had by December fallen to just 8,833 metric tonnes, which signaled that damage that was being caused by blockades against Uganda’s sugar in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania.