Uganda Raises 2013-14 Coffee Exports Forecast on Rainfall

Uganda, Africa’s biggest grower of robusta beans, raised the estimate for its exports in 2013-14 after favorable rainfall helped yields in the first eight months of the season.

Shipments from Oct. 1 through September may climb to 3.8 million 60-kilogram (132-pound) bags, compared with a February forecast of 3.6 million bags, Francis Chesang, production manager at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, the industry regulator, said today by phone from the capital, Kampala.

The projection would extend the nation’s exports from 3.58 million bags last season, which was the most since 1998-99, according to the regulator.

This the authority’s second upward revision this season from an initial 3.2 million bags in October. Shipments may climb further to 4 million bags in 2014-15, Chesang said.

Uganda mainly ships beans to the European Union, the U.S., Sudan, Switzerland, India, Japan and Russia, according to the authority. The robusta variety accounted for about 78 percent of the shipments last season.

“We are looking at good yields this year because we have had consistent rains,” he said. “The new coffee trees we planted in the last few years are coming into production.”

Shipments from Oct. 1 through May climbed 7.5 percent to 2.45 million bags, valued at $264.68 million, from 2.28 million bags worth $283.83 million a year earlier, according to the regulator.

Production in each season surpasses exports by about 400,000 bags, said Chesang. The East African country, the continent’s second-biggest coffee producer after Ethiopia, consumes about 3 percent of its annual crop, according to the African Fine Coffees Association. Uganda may boost annual output to 4.5 million bags by 2018 as it plants at least 100 million trees annually for three years from 2015, Chesang said in an earlier interview.

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