The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has revealed an increase in coffee production by 3%.
According to the UCDA report, coffee exports for 12 months of financial year 2021/22 totaled 6.26 million 60kg bags worth US$ 862.28 million translating to about shs3 trillion compared to 6.08 million bags worth US$ 559.16 million representing about shs2.1 trillion in the previous year.
This represents an increase of 3% and 54% in both quantity and value respectively.
Dr. Emmanuel Niyibigira, the managing director of UCDA says the Robusta has maintained its lead of quantity ahead of Arabica coffee noting it contributes up to 80% of the general produce and export.
“I wish to thank the coffee farmers and value chain actors who have remained resilient despite the dry conditions we are experiencing in the country,” Niyibigira said.
In June this year, coffee exports fell by 14% to 530,365 60-kilo bags of coffee valued at US$ 83.79 million which translates to about shs321 billion.
This, according to Niyibigira, comprised 444,197 bags of Robusta valued at US$ 60.98 million (sh234 billion) and 86,168 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 22.82 9shs87 billion).
Niyibigira said this was a decrease of 14% in quantity but an increase of 43% in value compared to the same month last year.
“The decrease in quantity is attributed to a dry spell that has affected many coffee-growing regions in the country. As a result, our 6.5m bags target was not met,” Niyibigira said.
Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Coffee Day which was on October 1.
The coffee boss noted that the erratic weather patterns call for increased investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
“I encourage farmers to plant shade trees, and mulch coffee gardens to offset the impact of climate change. We are also working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to support farmers to engage in irrigation,” he told New Vision in the phone interview.
In May this year, coffee-producing countries in Africa witnessed a historic moment when the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) members signed the Nairobi Declaration to have coffee anchored as a strategic commodity under the African Union in harmony with African Union’s Agenda 2063.
According to Niyibigira, the Nairobi declaration ushers in a new era with coffee earmarked as a priority commodity for Africa’s economic revolution.
The declaration will support coffee-producing countries such as Uganda to address several challenges the sector has grappled with such as market access, technology, value addition, and research.
Uganda shall be the host of the second G25 African Coffee Summit which will be held in Kampala in 2023 which according to Niyibigira, is a great opportunity for Uganda to showcase the coffee sub sector successes.
Free coffee distribution:
The increase comes at the time when the government is set to distribute coffee and tea seedlings to farmers in an effort to boost productivity.
The development was announced by Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the minister of state for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries last week.
The project which starts this week is yet to consume sh93 billion, which according to the minister shall be paid to suppliers in the next financial years of 2023/24 and 2024/25.
Kyakulaga said the whole process is intended to end before October 13, to allow farmers to plant before the end of the rain season. He revealed that the process shall start by identifying the farmers whom he said claim to have already prepared gardens.
“We invite all stakeholders to work with the government to have a successful exercise,” Kyakulaga said.
A total of 126 districts will receive coffee seedlings as 16 will receive the tea. This is because some districts do not support the growth of the crops, according to the minister.
The Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija on Wednesday informed parliament that the government has taken a decision to take the available coffee and tea seedlings from nursery bed operators so they are distributed to farmers with immediate effect before the rains stop.
Uncertainty has been looming around Parliament as legislators led by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa have been demanding answers from the Government on when the free distribution of coffee and tea seedlings through Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) would be done.