Tanzania record’s eight-year high coffee export earnings fetching US$137m in 2020/21 season

TANZANIA – The norm of coffee drinking which was fuelled by lock-downs prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, has highly favoured the Tanzanian export market recording an eight-year high of both the value and quantity of coffee exported in the 2020/21 season.

According to the Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB), the country exported 70,388 tonnes of coffee, a rise from the previous season’s 59, 332 tonnes earning US$137m, an increase of 20% from US$112.85m fetched in 2019/2020.

The last time the country recorded high coffee sales was in 2012/13 earning US$181.79 million from export of 71,007 tonnes.

“Covid-19 had its pro and cons and the good thing is that lockdown forced people to drink a lot of coffee thereby forcing prices to be favourable in the world market,” Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) Acting Director-General Mr Primus Kimaryo said.

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From the total exported amount, 49,616 tons of coffee was sold through direct coffee exports while the remaining 20,772 was auctioned via TCB Coffee Exchange.

Robusta coffee dominated the direct coffee exports with 37,694 tonnes equivalent to 75.97 per cent, while Arabica share was 11,922 tonnes equivalent to 24.03 per cent, reports Daily News.

“Covid-19 had its pro and cons and the good thing is that lockdown forced people to drink a lot of coffee thereby forcing prices to be favourable in the world market.”

Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) Acting Director-General – Mr Primus Kimaryo

The TCB data further indicated that Kagera led all the coffee producing regions in the country with an output of 41,429 tonnes, followed by Ruvuma 12,179 tonnes, Songwe 12,178 tonnes, Mbeya 2,361 tonnes, Arusha 1,727 tonnes, and Kilimanjaro 1,610 tonnes.

Other producers were Kigoma 706 tonnes, Tanga tonnes, Njombe 110 tonnes, Iringa 21.2 tonnes, Katavi 2.0 tonnes and Rukwa producing only 1.0 tonnes.

Despite the boom in the market, TCB projects the 2021/22 production to drop to 65,000 tonnes, out of which Robusta production will be 35,000 tons while Arabica will be 30,000 tons.

“The drop will be due to the fluctuating coffee cycle and delays in the start of heavy rainfall in the Northern Zone,” Mr Kimaryo said.

The main destination for Tanzania’s coffee is European Union (EU) which accounted for 46%, followed by Japan, India, Australia, Lebanon, Latvia, China, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and South Africa.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Uganda, coffee exports for the 12 months to end May 2021 amounted to 5,881,905 60-kilo bags worth US$ 540.72 million.

This, according to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), was a 17.02% rise in quantity compared to 5,026,612 bags sold in the previous year and 10.76% increase in earnings from US$ 488.19 million earned in 2019/2020.

A look into the final month’s performance, Uganda fetched US$ 47.16 million from the export of 494,050 bags, an increase of 11.01% and 12.90% in value and quantity respectively compared to May 2020.

From the total bags sold, Robusta accounted for 429,374 bags valued at US$ 37.52 million and 64,676 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 9.63 million.

Robusta exhibited an increase in both quantity and value at 25.98% and 27.02% respectively, while Arabica exports decreased in both quantity and value by 33.16% and 25.55% respectively.

Uganda is projecting to enter the 500,000 bags – export mark in June 2021 fuelled by increasing global coffee prices which will enthuse exporters to release their stocks.

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