By Ricks Kayizzi
Uganda’s coffee earnings for the second month running have continued to fall and this can be blamed on natural vagararies such as poor weather conditions and low global prices.
Coffee exports in November amounted to 447,162 60-kilo bags worth $64.14m (sh243b).
This comprised 364,875 bags of Robusta valued at $45.38m and 82,287 bags of Arabica valued at $18.76m. This was a decrease of 14.97% and 9.94% in quantity and value respectively compared to the same month last year.
This is compared to $67.10m (sh251b) it earned in October, when it exported 457,244 60-kg bags of coffee. This comprised 398,592 60kg bags of Robusta valued at $53.25m and 58,652 60kg bags of Arabica valued at $13.85m.
In September 2022, the country earned $71.22m (sh269b) when it exported up to 503,695 60kg bags of coffee.
According to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the decrease in exports was mainly attributed to lower yields this year that were characterised by drought in most regions for the second consecutive year.
“This led to increased incidences of pests and diseases such as the Coffee Twig Borer and red blister disease. For Arabica, the decrease is due to the off-year cycle characteristic of Arabica coffee production,” it said in its recently issued monthly report. The average export price for November was $2.39 per kilo, 6 U.S cent lower than $2.45 per kilo realised in October 2022. It was 13 US cents higher than in November 2021 ($ 2.26/kilo).
Robusta exports accounted for 82% of total exports lower than 87% in October 2022.
“The average Robusta price on the other hand was $2.07 per kilo, US cents 16 lower than the previous month. Screen 14 fetched the highest price of $2.43 per kilo. It was followed by Screen 17 at $2.29 per kilo. The share of Sustainable/washed coffee to total Robusta exports was only 0.93% lower than 1.95% in October 2022,” further reads the UCDA report.
It says Arabica fetched an average price of $3.80 per kilo, 14 cents lower than $3.94 per kilo in October 2022. The highest price was Sustainable Arabica (Sipi Falls) sold at $5.00 per kilo a premium of US cents 45 over conventional Bugisu AA.
It was followed by Mt. Elgon AB, C/PB and UG sold at $4.89 per kilo, a premium of $1.04 over Conventional Bugisu AA. Drugar was sold at $ 3.91 per kilo, a discount of US cents 35 from Bugisu AA.
“Drugar exports were 40% of total Arabica exports compared to 49% the previous month. There was generally low global natural Arabica demand during the month which led to low Arabica export prices compared to the previous month.”
Bad coffee year
The share of sustainable Arabica exports to total Arabica exports was 17% compared to 4% in October 2022.
Coffee exports for 12 months (December 2021-November 2022) totaled 5.78 million bags worth $875m compared to 6.65 million bags worth $680m the previous year (December 2020- November 2021).
This represents a decrease of 13.53% in quantity but an increase of 28.62% in value.
By comparing the quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (November 2021), Robusta decreased by 16.58% and 11.96% in quantity and value respectively, while Arabica exports also decreased by 7.02% and 4.65% in quantity and value respectively.
Local firms shine
The top 10 exporters for the month of November 2022held a market share of 77% higher than 75% the previous month reflecting increasing concentration. UCDA says changes in exporter positions compared to last month show competition at this level.
“Out of the 50 exporters that performed, 13 exported Robusta Coffee only while 10 exported Arabica coffee only.”
Among the top 10 export companies in the month of November 2022 was Ugacof (U) Ltd. It had the highest market share of 16.66% compared to 13.89% in October 2022.
It was followed by Ideal Quality Commodities Ltd at 10.42% (10.94% in October), Louis Dreyfus Company (U) Ltd at 9.20% (10.94% in October) and Touton Uganda Limited at 8.92% (4.84% in October).
Others included Olam Uganda Ltd at 7.91% (10.25% in October), Kawacom (U) Ltd at 6.69% (4.85% in October), Ibero (U) Ltd at 5.1% (5.04% in October), Export Trading Company (U) Ltd at 4.76% (3.86% in October), Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd at 4.70% (7.16% in October ) and JKCC General Supplies Ltd at 2.46% (2.03% in October).
Foreigners pay highly
The top 10 buyers of Ugandan coffee in the month of November held a market share of 67% of total exports the same as the previous month.
Sucafina led with a market share of 15.27% compared to 13.35% in October 2022.
It was followed by Louis Dreyfus at 9.20% (11.38% in October), Touton Geneve at 8.92% (4.84% in October), Olam International at 8.56% (10.74% in October), Ecom Agro Industrialist at 7.15% (5.15% in October) and Bernhard Rothfos at 5.18% (5.04% in October).
Others included Altasheel Import and Export Enterprises at 3.99% (3.44% in October), Volcafe at 3.51% (5.52% in October), Bercher Coffee Consulting at 3.04% and Icona Cafe at 2.31% (3.26% in October).
When it came to the destinations of Uganda’s coffee exports during the month of November 2022, Italy maintained the highest market share with 34.40% compared with 33.04% last month.
It was followed by Germany at 10.85%, Sudan at 10.04%, India at 9.93% and Morocco at 6.67%.