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June 12, 2011

Ugandan coffee exports jump

by Fred Ojambo 

Coffee exports from Uganda, Africa’s second-largest grower, rose 43 percent in May as some farmers took advantage of higher prices, according to an official at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority.

Shipments increased to 253,270 bags from 177,380 bags a year earlier, the official said from the capital, Kampala. The person isn’t authorized to speak to reporters and declined to be identified. A bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

Exports during the month surpassed an earlier forecast of 210,000 bags and 176,561 bags exported the previous month, authority reports show. Robusta coffee traded on NYSE Liffe in London was 94 percent higher in May than a year earlier. The robusta variety accounts for 85 percent of Uganda’s coffee crop.

Shipments in the year to Sept. 30 may be 2.6 million bags, the authority said April 13. Exports from the start of the season on Oct. 1 through May declined to 1.75 million bags from 1.78 million bags a year earlier, authority figures show.

Uganda ranks behind Ethiopia in Africa’s coffee production. It has experienced dry weather since December, which the government attributes to climate change. More than 95 percent of Uganda’s crop requires rain rather than irrigation, according to the authority.

Uganda earned $243.6 million from the sale of beans last season, down from $291.3 million a year earlier, according to the authority.


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