Uganda Coffee Exports Declined 8.7% Last Month on ‘Hoarding’

ugandan farmer harvesting coffee beansBy Fred Ojambo July 3 (Bloomberg) -- Coffee exports from Uganda, Africa’s biggest producer of the robusta variety of the crop, fell 8.7 percent in June after farmers hoarded the crop following a drop in prices, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority said. Shipments dropped to 254,026 60-kilogram (132-pound) bags, from 278,107 bags a year earlier, the agency said in a draft report, details of which were handed to Bloomberg News today in the capital, Kampala. Volumes were 5.9 percent lower than an earlier forecast of 270,000 bags, though 15 percent higher than May because of an improved harvest in the southern and southwestern regions, the authority said. “Prices are not good and farmers are reluctant to sell the crop at the current rate,” David Kiwanuka, the authority’ spokesman, said by phone. “What buyers are offering is far below the farmers’ expectations.” The price of a kilogram of husked coffee ranged from 800 to 1,100 Ugandan shillings (38 to 53 cents), compared with 1,000 to 1,300 shillings the previous month, following a drop in global prices, he said. Shipments in the 12 months to Sept. 30 may drop 5.7 percent from an earlier forecast of 3.5 million due to a small crop, Kiwanuka said on April 3. Last season, the country exported 3.21 million bags, the agency said. Exports from Oct. 1 through June fell 0.9 percent to 2.33 million bags, according to a tally by Bloomberg News. New planting and improving farm management have helped the East African nation boost its coffee output from 2 million bags in 2005-06, according to the authority. The country consumes less than 3 percent of its crop, while the rest is exported, mainly to Europe. Uganda is Africa’s second-biggest producer of coffee, after Ethiopia. Robusta accounts for about 85 percent of the country’s annual output and the country earned $388.4 million from coffee exports in 2007-08

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