By Ricks Kayizzi
Uganda’s monthly coffee earnings dropped in October due to a harsh environment on the global market and incidents of drought in most coffee-growing regions of Uganda.
Coffee exports in October 2022 amounted to 457,244 60-kilo bags worth $ 67.10 (sh251b). This comprised 398,592 bags of Robusta valued at $53.25m and 58,652 bags of Arabica valued at $13.85m.
This is as compared to the $71.22m (about 269b) it earned in September 2022, when up to 503,695 60 kg bags of coffee were exported. This comprised 464,118 bags of Robusta valued at $62.19m and 39,577 bags of Arabica valued at $9.03m.
In the report issued by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the drier-than-usual weather conditions combined with instability in the global market sent the earnings on a downward trail.
October’s coffee exports experienced a slight decrease of 5.71% in quantity but an increase of 9.82% in value compared to the same month last year.
“Bad weather conditions led to a shorter main harvest season in Central and Eastern regions and also reduced harvests from Greater Masaka and
“South-Western regions,” it said in the recently issued monthly report.
But there is a lot of hope for Uganda’s coffee due to the anticipated increase in farm yields year on year.
UCDA reported that by comparing the quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of the last coffee year (October 2021), Robusta decreased by 6.47% in quantity but increased by 7.51% in value. Arabica exports, on the other hand, slightly decreased by 0.25% in quantity but increased by 19.75% in value.
Coffee exports for 12 months (November 2021-October 2022) totaled 5.83 million bags worth US$ 883.24 million compared to 6.55 million bags worth US$ 652.10 million the previous year (November 2020- October 2021). This represents a decrease of 11.02% in quantity but an increase of 35.36 % in value.
During October 2022, UCDA reported that the average export price stood at $2.45 per kilo, 9 U.S. cents higher than the $2.36 per kilo realized in September 2022. It was 35 US cents higher than in October 2021 ($2.10/kilo).
Robusta exports accounted for 87% of total exports, down from 92% in September 2022. The average Robusta price was $2.23 per kilo, the same as the previous month.
Organic Robusta fetched the highest price of $2.54 per kilo. It was followed by washed Robusta at $2.49 per kilo. The share of sustainable or washed coffee in total Robusta exports was only 1.95% lower than 2.47% in September 2022.
UCDA reported that Arabica fetched an average price of $ 3.94 per kilo, 25 cents lower than $3.80 per kilo in September 2022. The highest price was Sustainable Arabica (Rwenzori), sold at $6.67 per kilo, a premium of $2 over conventional Bugisu AA, and was followed by Bugisu A+, sold at $5.72 per kilo, a premium of $1.04 over conventional Bugisu AA. Drugar was sold at $3.91 per kilo, a discount of 77 US cents from Bugisu AA.
Drugar exports represented 49% of total Arabica exports, compared to 55% the previous month. There was generally low global natural Arabica demand during the month, which led to low Arabica export prices.
The share of sustainable Arabica exports to total Arabica exports was 4% compared to 7% last month.