KAMPALA - Uganda's coffee exports rose 7 percent in December from the same period in 2012 as farmers sold more of the commodity to raise money for the holiday season, a source at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said on Wednesday.
Uganda exported 257,976 60-kg bags of coffee during the month from 240,403 bags in December 2012.
"I think farmers were forced to sell larger volumes of stock because they needed money for Christmas and the holidays but also there was ample sunshine which was crucial in quick drying of the beans," the source at the industry regulator UCDA told Reuters.
The source added that the country earned $25.4 million dollars from the exports in December, down from $30.1 million in the year ago period, thanks to variations in coffee prices.
Uganda is one of Africa's biggest coffee exporters and the crop is one of the government's main sources of foreign currency.
From New vision
Despite a slight increase in global coffee prices, farmers should not jubilate yet as the current prices are not yet impressive, experts have said. According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), there was a 4.6 per cent increase from December 2013 to date.
The experts say farmers in producing countries like Uganda, currently ranked Africa's number two and globally standing at number six, should endeavour to produce more quality beans.
Sharing his opinion on the current coffee price trends, the Chairman National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises, Mr Gerald Ssendaula, said: "Farmers should counteract the global prices by producing more and quality coffee."
Information from ICO indicates that by the close of December the composite price indicator price increased by 5.5 perc ent to 106.56 US cents/lb. However, this is still its second lowest level of the year.
The ICO report notes: "All four group indicators recorded higher monthly averages, with the most significant increase observed in Robustas, which rose by 10.3 pe rcent to 87.89 US cents/lb, its highest average since August.
The monthly average of Brazilian Naturals increased by 4.7 per cent to 107.40 US cents/lb, while other Milds increased by 3.2 per cent to 125.97 cents and briefly traded above Colombian Milds, which averaged a level of 126.54 cents, 1.5 per cent higher than November.
Price volatility has also increased for almost all indicators since November. "In terms of price differentials, the most significant trend was the convergence of Colombian Milds and Other Milds, with the difference narrowing to an average of just 0.57 cents compared to 2.63 cents in November," ICO said.
This is the lowest gap since June 2005.
Coffee report shows changes in price differences
The ICO report shows the price differences changed considerably over the last year as exports of Colombian Milds have increased, mostly due to the recovery in production by Colombia, while shipments of Other Milds have gone down. All group indicators showed signs of convergence during December, with the arbitrage between the New York and London futures markets down 6 per cent to 37.38 cents, its lowest in five years.
This brings the annual average of the ICO composite indicator for 2013 to 119.51 US cents/lb, down 23.6 per cent on 2012 and the lowest level since 2009. All four group indicators are down with outstanding ones in Colombian Milds (down 26.8 per cent) and Brazilian Naturals (30.1 per cent), followed by Other Milds (25.2 per cent) and Robustas (8.4 per cent).
From Daily monitor
Nucafe Board chairman Gerald Ssendaula hands over their coffee product to the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Mr.Dan E. Frederiksen as executive director Joseph Nkandu looks on. This was after Nucafe was awarded for supporting commercial agriculture.
Kampala government has been tasked to improve the legal and regulatory frame work to provide a safe environment for farming, agribusiness and investment in the country.
The Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Dan E Frederiken said despite agriculture being a foreseeable key to development of East African economies, "Crooks and charlants thrive where corruption is rife."
"Today, when a citizen in Uganda seeks state services, there is a 27 per cent probability that a bribe will be solicited and 90 per cent of the time, they will not do any think about reporting that", said Mr. Frederiksen.
Speaking at an award dinner at the East African Agribusiness investment Summit in Kampala recently, the envoy observed that despite the positive pull factors, economies continue to experience difficulties in fully exploiting the potential of the agricultural sector.
A number of East African agricultural organizations were a warded in recognition of their roles in supporting commercial agriculture. They include; Rwenzori Commodities,(National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises) (Nucafe), Agro-Genetics Technologies, Agri-Vie Fund, Equator Seeds, Golden Bee Ltd,Root Capital, African Seeds Investment Fund and Total Land Care Viphya Project.
In Uganda Agriculture still employs more than 70 per cent of the total labour force and accounts for more than 50 per cent of exports earnings as well as providing a large proportion of the raw materials for industries.
According to Mr.Frederiksen, infrastructure bottlenecks continue to constrain farm profitability and deter investments in agriculture yet farmers pay too much for inputs and receive too little for their outputs.
From Daily Monitor
The coming in to force of the National Coffee policy launched last week was considered a great milestone in the country's agricultural sector, but farmers have asked the government to maximize its benefits by availing resources to enable its consistent implementation.
Farmers say much as policy in place there are still challenges as associated with creating public awareness about it, which will require a consistent flow of information in languages understood by coffee farming communities across the country.
Speaking to the media after the launch at the media after the launch at the Coffee Research Institute at Kituza in Mukono district, Cyprian Bangirana, the vice-chairman of the National Union of Coffee Agri-businesses and Farm Enterprise (NUCAFE), noted that the policy will be more relevant only if the government deals with numerous challenges facing the coffee industry.
"NUCAFE members have been at the centre of the policy right from demanding for it, its formulation process to the launch. Our advocacy continues into lobbying government to emphasize funding coffee research initiatives, avail disease resistant seedling and create an enabling environment for long term financing," he said
Prof. Zerubabel Mujumbi, the agriculture state minister, said Government is getting more focused on boosting the coffee industry having recognized its' role in supporting socio-economic progress.
"The government will work together with other stakeholders in the coffee industry to ensure the policy is significantly operationalised. We consider coffee as a key driver for this economy, especially in terms of dealing with household poverty," he said.
Coffee has been contributing an annual average of 20% of Uganda's total export revenue over the last 10 years.
The Uganda Coffee Development Authority managing director Henry Ngabirano, noted that the policy comes at a time when northern Uganda is adopting coffee growing creating optimism that the policy will serve an increased number of players.
The policy implementation and dissemination will also be supported by Feed the Future: Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity, a project spearheaded by USAID to tackle global hunger, food security, poverty reduction and streamlining development policies within the domain of agriculture.
Objectives of the National Coffee Policy.
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Honourable, Tress Bucyanayandi,
requests the pleasure of the company of,
to the Launch of the National Coffee Policy at Kituza, Mukono District
Friday, 6 December 2013, 8:00am to 1:00pm.
Uganda Coffee Development Authority
Okasai .S. Opolot
Director Crop Resources
Min. of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
Tel: 0414- 531 284
PROGRAM FOR THE LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL COFFEE POLICY
Date: 6th December, 2013
Venue: National Coﬀee Research Institute, Kituza, Mukono District