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Aided by good weather, Uganda coffee exports surge in 2020

Aided by good weather, Uganda coffee exports surge in 2020
Ready to harvest coffee berries (Photo courtesy of UCDA)   -  
Copyright © africanews
AP Photo


Uganda’s coffee exports grew by 972,962 bags in 2020, a 22 percent increase from 2019.

The increase is the highest since 1991 according to Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the country’s agency mandated to control and market the crop.

Figures released by the UCDA show that exports for the calendar year January 2020 to December 2020 amounted to 5,492,525 60-kilo bags.

Uganda earned $515.94 million from the exports.

In 2019, the east African country shipped 4,519,563 bags, fetching $436.54 million.

This represents a 22 percent and 18 percent increase in quantity and value respectively.

In December alone, coffee exported amounted to 422,922 60-kilo bags worth $37.78m.

The improved performance was attributed to an increase in production driven by newly planted coffee trees and favorable weather.

Uganda’s coffee is mostly sold in its raw form. The country produces both Robusta and Arabica coffee.

Much of the crop is grown by smallholder farmers in the central, eastern, and western regions of the country.

On export destinations, Italy maintained its top spot among countries with a high affinity for Ugandan coffee, followed by Germany, Sudan, Belgium, and India.

African countries that consume Uganda's coffee the most are Sudan, Morocco, Kenya, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa and South Sudan.

Europe is the main destination for Uganda’s coffees with a 63 percent import share.

New varieties

After seeing millions of its coffee trees get decimated by a viral disease in the early 2000s, Uganda’s scientists began breeding new, disease-resistant varieties.

In 2009, the country’s coffee research institute released seven varieties that are resistant to the coffee wilt disease.

In 2017, the institute released three higher-yielding and disease-resistant varieties.

Last year, the institute said it was working on a program to breed drought-resistant coffee plants as one of the ways to mitigate the effects of a changing climate on the industry. 

Uganda’s government has set itself an ambitious target to increase exports of the crop to 20 million bags by 2025. Coffee is the country’s main cash crop.

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