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Uganda’s annual coffee exports increase 19 percent

By George Mangula

Uganda’s coffee exports increased by 19.13 percent for the 12 months (September 2019-August 20202) to amount to 5,216,608 60-kilo bags worth US$ 502.45 million, compared to 4,379,007 60-kilo bags worth US$ 429.02 million the previous year, according to Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) latest report.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s coffee exports in August 2020 amounted to 519,683 60-kilo bags worth US$ 46.06 million. This comprised 457,897 bags of Robusta and 61,786 bags of Arabica . “This was an increase of 6.30% in quantity … compared to the same month last year,” says UCDA.

By comparing quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (August 2019), Robusta increased in quantity by 10.35% and 0.18% in quantity and value respectively. Arabica exports registered a decrease in both quantity and value of 16.42% and 3.92% respectively.

According to UCDA, Despite the increasing incidence of COVID-19 incidence globally, there was an increase in Uganda’s exports attributed to increased production on account of fruition of the newly planted coffee and favourable weather. It is also attributed to the movement of cargo across the borders, logistical issues such as lack of containers notwithstanding.

Globally, in August 2020, world coffee exports fell by 7.5% to 10.04 million bags compared to August 2019. According to International Coffee Organisation (ICO), that was the lowest volume of shipments in August since 2015 when exports totalled 9.14 million bags, and that may indicate a decline in demand, particularly as prices have increased in recent months while the outlook for global economic growth remains bearish.

Shipments of Arabica fell by 6.7% to 6.35 million bags, and Robusta exports decreased by 9% to 3.69 million bags.

ICO says from October 2019 to August 2020, global coffee shipments fell by 5.6% to 116.54 million bags compared with the same period in coffee year 2018/19. In the first eleven months of coffee year 2019/20, Robusta exports recorded the smallest decrease, declining by 2.6% to 44.61 million bags.

ICO estimates global output in 2019/20 at 169.34 million bags, 2.2% lower than in 2018/19, says ICO. Arabica output is estimated to decrease by 5% to 95.99 million bags, while Robusta output is expected to rise by 1.9% to 73.36 million bags. ICO attributes the decrease in output mainly to  the reduction in Brazil, as this was an off-year for its Arabica production, as well as to the ongoing low prices. Harvesting in most countries had already concluded by the time the pandemic occurred.

“Heading into 2019/20, global demand for coffee seemed strong following coffee year 2018/19 when world consumption grew by 4.3% to 168.7 million bags, which was well-above the longterm average of around 2%. However, in 2019/20, global coffee consumption is estimated at 167.81 million bags, 0.5% lower than last year. While there was a surge in demand at the start of the pandemic from panic-buying and stockpiling, consumption in the remaining months of the coffee year is estimated downwards due to ongoing pressure from a global economic downturn and limited recovery in out-of-home consumption, particularly as many countries are starting to experience a second wave of covid-19 at the end of the coffee year.”

Although both production and consumption decreased, 2019/20 is seen in surplus, with global output exceeding consumption by 1.54 million bags, says ICO

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