Uganda’s Coffee export hit record high

Data  released  by  the  Uganda Coffee Development  Authority (UCDA)  indicates  coffee export volumes have grown  by 300,000. Small as it may seem, this increment translates to an increase in earnings from  Shs1.2  trillion ($315 million)  last  year  to Shs1.8 trillion ($472million) in the 2018/19 coffee calendar year running to September. In this period, the  commodity  exported  4.8 million bags  compared  to 4.5 million  bags in  the  same period a year ago.

With  the   Uganda   National Coffee  Strategy Plan   for  2015-2020   putting    expected production at 5.8 million bags by the year 2020, this trend feeds well into government’s larger plan which seeks to reach 20 million bags per annum by the year 2020, an almost seventy seven per cent increase going by the current numbers with Uganda projected to earn at  least  $1.1billion, making  coffee the second  highest  foreign  exchange   earner, after  tourism, which rakes in $1.5billion, a goal many a critic consider  too     ambitious.                                                                                                                                    Since 2015 however, the value and  volume  of  coffee  exports  have seen  a  steady  rise with the conducive weather and an increase in the  number  of  households growing  the crop playing a  major  role  in  this. Approximately 1.8 million  Ugandan households    are involved  in   coffee production, eighty  per  cent  of  whom  grow the  robusta   variety.
Uganda remains  the second  largest producer and exporter of coffee in Africa, annually exporting approximately 4.8  million  bags  (288,000 metric tonnes) with  Ethiopia’s  6.4 million bags (384,000 metric tonnes) still the largest on the continent.

Already, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority has projected output in the 2018/19 season  to  increase  to  more  than  five  million bags  with current market  and  weather conditions  already  sending  the right  signals. Coffee  processors affirm that the country could  get  much  more  than  what  it  is  currently earning  from its coffee  exports  if  it pushed for value addition and branding. More production of the Arabica variety will also tap into this less exploited market.

 It is now down to all the stake holders to do  everything possible  to  combat  the  usual setbacks of pests, diseases, storage and processing in order to  achieve  these  set  goals.