Uganda coffee exports dip 29% in August on impact of drought

UGANDA— Uganda’s coffee exports plummeted 28.5% year on year in August, hurt by a drought that blighted crops in parts of the country and squeezed yields, the coffee industry regulator said.

Uganda, which predominantly cultivates robusta, is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia. Earnings from the beans are one of the country’s largest sources of foreign exchange.

The east African country shipped a total of 501,054 60-kg bags of coffee in August, compared with 700,990 bags exported in the same month last year, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said in a report seen by Reuters.

“The decrease in exports was mainly attributed to lower yields this year that were characterized by drought in most regions,” UCDA said.

The drought led to a shorter main harvest season in central and eastern parts of the country which hit yields, the regulator said.

The decrease in exports was mainly attributed to lower yields this year that were characterized by drought in most regions

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The leading global coffee producers are seeing bigger-than-expected losses for their coffee crop due to freakish weather. Arabica farmers in Brazil, the world’s top exporter believe there will be a significant crop failure in the current season compared with the last high-yielding cycle two years ago, according to Margarete Boteon, an agricultural researcher at the University of Sao Paulo.

As a result of these catastrophic effect of the drought conditions on crop yields, Dutch multinational banking and financial services company, Rabobank has lowered its forecast for global coffee production for the upcoming 2022/23 season.

The bank sees global coffee production dropping to 169 million bags of 60 kg in 2022/23, from a previous estimate of 172.3 million bags, representing a deficit of 1.3 million bags, mainly of Arabica.

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