Uganda: Coffee sales rise despite pandemic

Uganda’s coffee exports have continued to surge despite the coronavirus pandemic with April figures showing growth compared with a year ago.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said in a report released in April that Uganda coffee exports were 359,973 60 kilogramme bags worth $36.93 million compared with the 305,643 bags exported in April 2019 valued at $30,048,530 million.

This was an increase of 18 per cent and 23 per cent in quantity and value respectively, compared with the same period last year.

For the coffee authority, the increase in exports has been attributed to higher production on account of fruition of the newly planted coffee and not necessarily the harvest season.

“Coffee exports for the first 10 months of the financial year 2019/20 amounted to 4.24 million worth $ 413.53 million compared with 3.48 million bags worth $350.26 million the previous year. This represents 21.89 per cent and 18.06 per cent increase in both quantity and value respectively. Cumulatively in 12 months, (May 2019-April 2020), a total of 4.93 million bags worth $478.47 million were exported,” said UCDA in a statement.
The coffee authority says that apart from an increase in harvested coffee, exporters also “drew down on their stocks due to the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Joseph Nkandu the executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises said the Covid-19 surge in March forced many coffee buying companies to stock up because the coffee destination countries had closed.

He cited major coffee importers like Germany, Italy and Spain pushing those volumes to April.

“Most of the coffee which was supposed to be exported in March was exported in excess in April-2020,” Mr Nkandu said.

The fall in the value of coffee exports reflected the lower price received in March. The average export price declined to $1.6 per kilo down from $1.65 per kilo in February and $1.63 a year earlier. Annually, Uganda’s aver-age coffee earning top $450 million making it one of the top foreign exchange earners.

SOURCE: The East African

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