UGANDA – Uganda, known for its rich coffee heritage, has reached a historic milestone as the nation exports an astounding 743,517 bags of coffee, marking the highest coffee export volume ever recorded in the country.
According to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) monthly report for August 2023, the monumental achievement translated into earnings of approximately US$121.64 million, equivalent to Shs455.37 billion.
The exported coffee comprised 689,261 bags of Robusta, valued at US$111.41 million, and 54,256 bags of Arabica, valued at US$10.22 million.
These figures represented remarkable year-on-year growth, with quantity and value increasing by 48.19% and 70.73%, respectively, compared to the same month in the previous year.
Breaking down the data further, Robusta exports in August 2023 surged by 50.95% in quantity and 84.76% in value when compared to August 2022.
Meanwhile, Arabica exports grew by 20.29% in quantity but experienced a slight reduction of 6.61% in value during the same period.
The UCDA attributed this impressive performance to favourable factors such as a bountiful coffee harvest in the Southwestern region and attractive global coffee prices, which encouraged exporters to release their coffee stocks.
For the 12 months from September 2022 to August 2023, Uganda’s coffee exports reached 6.08 million bags, amounting to US$918.76 million, marking a 5% increase in quantity and a 2% increase in value compared to the previous year.
The average export price for coffee in August was US$2.73 per kilo, surpassing July 2023’s price of US$2.71 per kilo and demonstrating a substantial year-on-year increase of 36 US cents from August 2022’s price of US$2.37 per kilo.
Robusta coffee accounted for 93% of total exports in August 2023, compared to 91% the previous month, with an average price of US$2.69 per kilo, reflecting a 6-cent increase from the previous month.
The highest price was for Screen 14 coffee, selling at US$2.96 per kilo, closely followed by Organic Robusta at US$2.95 per kilo.
Arabica coffee achieved an average price of US$3.14 per kilo in August 2023, a decrease of US cents 25 from the previous month. The highest-priced Arabica variety was Bugisu A+ at US$5.37 per kilo, followed by Bugisu CPB at US$4.74 per kilo.
Drugar was sold at US$3.35 per kilo, a decrease of 14 cents compared to the previous month. Drugar exports represented 48% of total Arabica exports, reflecting a shift from the previous month’s 58%. Sustainable Arabica exports accounted for 6.64% of total Arabica exports, a significant increase from the 1.24% reported in July 2023.
Among the coffee exporters, Ugacof (U) Ltd secured the highest market share at 14.45%, followed closely by Olam Uganda Ltd at 11.32%, Ideal Quality Commodities Ltd at 9.66%, and Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd at 9.17%.
The future outlook for Ugandan coffee exports in September 2023 remains promising, with projections of 600,000 bags.
Exporters are expected to draw down on their stocks to fulfill contractual obligations with buyers, and preparations are underway for the main harvest south of the equator, especially in the Mt. Elgon region.