Uganda may not meet coffee target, experts warn

Kampala. With only one month left to the close of the coffee calendar this September, latest statistics show a slight increase in Uganda’s volume and value respectively.
A new report released by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) shows on a year to year basis, there was a marginal increase of 1.44 percent and 0.76 percent in volume and value respectively.
“Coffee exports for the period September 2013 to August 2014 totalled 3.52 million bags worth $394 million (about Shs1 trillion). This indicated a slight increase from 3.47 million bags worth $391 million (Shs977.5 billion) earned the same period last year,” UCDA report noted.
Because of this performance, experts in the industry have reservation as to whether the country will meet the target set last year or surpass it with only one month of the coffee year remaining.
Reacting to the performance, Mr Joseph Nkandu, the executive director National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises, said: “The country may not meet the 3.12 million bags for the coffee year ending because we were hit by a prolonged drought between December and January and this affected the yields.”

Coffee disease
He added that this, coupled with the ruins of the Black Coffee Twig Borer, which continues to be the biggest threat on farmers’ coffee fields leave fewer chances that the country would meet its target.
Mr Nkandu is however optimistic that if the current rains continue, they will have a positive impact on the coming coffee calendar and thus yields might recover.
Prices at the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) showed farmers earned more as prices increased.
According to ICO report for August, average composite indicator price increased to US centslb 163.08 from US cents 152.50 in July and 151.92 in June 2014.
During the month, farm gate coffee prices improved in line with the global prices. They were in the range of: Shs2,000 – 2,200 per kilo of Kiboko (Robusta dry cherries) Shs4, 000 – 4,400 for FAQ Arabica parchment was sold between Shs5, 800-6,200, Drugar from Kasese was in the range of Shs6, 000-6,500 per Kilo. The harvesting season in Kasese and Kapchorwa is underway.

Funding
In July, Opportunity Bank Limited announced a partnership agreement with aBi Group to finance Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance (UCFA) in Mubende, Masaka and Mityana.
More than 3,000 coffee farmers were set to benefit from a Shs1.4 billion to produceand improve on their skills in good agricultural practices.

Projected volumes

September exports are projected at 250,000 bags as harvesting in central, South western region and Sebei region is underway.
Seventy five per cent of the total export volume was exported by 10 exporters, out of 30 exporters that performed in the month.
Global coffee exports for July were recorded at 9.7 million bags, bringing the cumulative total for the 10 months for coffee year 201314 to 92.3 million bags, 2 per cent lower compared to the same period in 201213.

dnakaweesi@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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