Uganda to Plant 300 Million Coffee Trees on Rising Demand

Uganda, Africa’s second-biggest coffee producer after Ethiopia, may plant 300 million trees in three years to benefit from rising global demand for the beans.

The plan depends on securing 107.8 billion shillings ($42.1 million) of funding for the program in the three years through June 2016, the Kampala-based, state-run Coffee Development Authority said on its website. At least 35 billion shillings is required in the 12 months through next June, according to the authority, which didn’t specify where the funds may originate.

Demand for robusta beans, used to make instant coffee, will rise 3 percent in 2013-14 after jumping 6 percent this year and 15 percent in 2011-12, Volcafe Ltd., the Winterthur, Switzerland-based coffee unit of commodities trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., said in a report last month.

Coffee accounts for 20 to 30 percent of Uganda’s annual export revenue, and the country exports most of its beans to the European Union, the U.S., Switzerland, Morocco, Sudan, India, Singapore and Russia, according to the authority.

The new plan builds on an earlier target of planting 40 million trees annually of the robusta variety, announced by Henry Ngabirano, the authority’s managing director, in February. The trees start yielding in two to three years, according to the authority.

Robusta Exports

The East African country, where robusta accounts for 70 percent of coffee output, plans to raise annual production from 3.4 million to 3.5 million 60-kilogram bags to 4.5 million bags by 2018, the UCDA said in February. Achieving the target would make Uganda Africa’s largest exporter, according to Ngabirano. Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia are the leading producers of the crop, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization.

Uganda shipped 3.36 million bags of coffee from Oct. 1 last year through August, surpassing an earlier forecast of 3.2 million bags for the year ending Sept. 30, the authority said on Sept. 4.

The nation earned $392.8 million from exports of 2.73 million bags in 2011-12, compared with $448.9 million from 3.15 million bags the previous season, according to the authority.

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