The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has said the standoff at Malaba border points with Kenya that led to the fuel crisis affected Uganda’s coffee exports in January.

Uganda exported a total of 402,212 60-kilo bags of coffee valued at $61.98 million (about Shs215b in January 2022, the January report by UCDA shows.

Of the 402,212 60-kilo bags, 315,265 bags were of Robusta valued at $40.07 million and 86,947 bags of Arabica valued at $ 21.91 million.

This was a decrease of 10% in quantity and an increase of 56% in value compared to the same month last year.

UCDA attributes the decrease in Robusta exports to the border blockade and correction where two consecutive good harvests were associated with lower yields this year also characterized by a drought in some regions.

“This led to a shorter main harvest season in Central and Eastern regions as well as a short fly crop in Greater Masaka and South-Western regions. Shortage of containers and congestion at the Malaba boarder also affected exports,” the report adds.

Farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged UGX 3,100 per kilo; FAQ UGX 7,000 per kilo, Arabica parchment UGX 12,000 per kilo and Drugar UGX 10,500 per kilo.

Coffee exports for 12 months (February 2021-January 2022) totalled 6.72 million bags worth $741.03 million compared to 5.47 million bags worth $ 511.66 million the previous year (February 2020- January 2021).

This represents an increase of 23% and 45% in both quantity and value respectively.

Seventy Nine percent of the total volume was exported by 10 exporters, out of 40 companies which performed during the month compared to 72% in December 2021 reflecting increasing concentration. Mt. Elgon A, AB and C/PB fetched the highest price at US $ 6 per kilo. The share of sustainable Arabica exports to total Arabica exports was 20%.

When comparing quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (January 2021), although Robusta decreased by 20.76% in quantity, it increased by 22.62% in value, while Arabica exports increased by 80.84% and 215.67% in quantity and value respectively.

UCDA says that the Increase in Arabica coffee exports is due to an on-year cycle characteristic of Arabica coffee production. Shortage of shipping containers in Vietnam and weather related concerns in Brazil fueled increase in global prices, the report adds.

Italy maintained the highest market share with 30.03% compared with 37.11% last month. It was followed by Sudan 17.02% (5.99%), Germany 10.15% (17.38%) Belgium 6.34% (3.59%) and Spain 5.61% (4.62%).

Coffee exports to Africa amounted to 97,554 bags, a market share of 24% compared to 88,546 bags (16%) the previous month. African countries included Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, South Sudan and Kenya. Europe remained the main destination for Uganda’s coffees with a 58% imports share lower than 70% in December 2021.