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Coffee Earnings Drop 12%

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Stephen Nuwagira

Uganda’s coffee export earnings were lower last month even as the country shipped out high volumes and slightly higher global market prices for the beans, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) statistics indicate.

According to the UCDA monthly market analysis report for March, the country exported 487,797 sixty-kilogramme bags of coffee, raking in $71.5 million (about sh267.3 billion). However, this indicates a drop of 11.7% in earnings compared to the same month last year, but an increase of 2% in quantity exported over the period, the report adds.

Robusta accounted for 365,613 bags of coffee the country exported last month, valued at $46 million (about sh172 billion) while 112,184 bags of Arabica were shipped out over the reporting period, bringing in $25.44 million (about sh95 billion).

UCDA attributes the rise in volumes to exporters who off-loaded coffee from their warehouses as the global robusta prices increased due to reduced global supplies from major producers, Vietnam and Brazil. “Arabica exports were higher compared to the same month last year due to an on-year of the biennial cycle characteristic of Arabica coffee production,” UCDA notes.

The decrease in Arabica value was due to high output from Brazil in the current coffee year, where harvesting is to intensify next month and weigh on prices, it adds.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s coffee exports for 12 months, April 2022 to March 2023, dropped to 5.76 million bags (worth $849.48 million) compared to 6.5 million bags (worth $790.31 million) the previous year. This shows a 12% drop in volumes exported, but an increase of 7% in export revenue realised during the year ending March.  

The average price for robusta coffee was $2.44 per kilo (sh9,120) in March, higher than $2.30 per kilo in February. The average price for Arabica was $3.47 (sh12,970) per kilo, increasing from $3.37 per kilo the previous month.


Italy (32.61%) was leading importer of Uganda’s coffee last month, followed by Sudan (17.66%), Germany (13.01%), India bought 10.74% of the coffee and USA 4.37%, among other import countries. Sudan, Morocco, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria Kenya and Somalia were the African countries that imported Uganda coffee in March. However, at a 60% imports share, Europe remained the main destination for Uganda’s coffees, higher than 54% in February 2023.

Relatedly, farm-gate prices for robusta kiboko averaged sh2,500 per kilo in March, that of Arabica parchment was at sh8,850, while FAQ (fair average quality or clean) was sh6,750 and Drugar cost sh7,750 per kilograme. Presently, Robusta coffee (clean) is at sh7,000 per kilo in Ibanda, while Arabica goes for sh8,500.

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