Africa’s largest coffee exporter, Uganda, recently announced that production of the 2022-23 crop could reach record levels due to improved rainfall and planting of seedlings over the past 8 years.
Uganda mainly grows the Robusta variety, whose trees are more productive than Arabica’s, which is commonly perceived in the market as being better quality (not everyone agrees with this, however!).
The forecast for the current coffee production year ending September 2023 is at 9 million 60-kg bags. The figure was given by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority’s executive director, Emmanuel Iyamulemye, in an email response to Bloomberg, without providing comparative figures.
Another official told Bloomberg over the phone that this would be the highest harvest ever for Uganda. The official, however, refused to introduce himself, saying he was not authorised to speak for Uganda’s coffee development administration.
The same official also confirmed that production for the 2021-22 coffee year, which ends on 30 September, will not be much different from the estimated 8.4 million 60-kg bags in the fiscal year that ended on 30 June.
Ugandan coffee production has grown steadily in the past few years. Data provided by International Coffee Organization shows record output for Uganda was over 5.6 million bags in 2020-21. Meanwhile, the country’s exports peaked at 6.5 million bags in the same production year, according to data on UCDA’s website. The Ugandan government supports coffee and tea producers by subsidising much-needed seedlings despite tight budgets.
Producers have managed to improve yields by cutting down old trees, planting higher-yielding varieties and increasing the use of organic fertiliser. Iyamulemye explained that these factors boosted coffee production.
Uganda Coffee Exports - 60KG Bags
Uganda is Africa’s second-largest coffee producer after Ethiopia, and the largest exporter, with Italy as the country’s biggest importer, followed by Germany, Sudan, India, Belgium, Tunisia, Spain and Morocco, according to ICO reports.