Uganda’s Drought May Lower Coffee Production, Farmer Group Says

Uganda, Africa’s biggest coffee exporter, will see a smaller coffee harvest after a drought scorched crops, a farmers’ group said.

“The prolonged dry spell seems to be damaging the blossom,” Joseph Nkandu, executive director of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises in Kampala, Uganda, said Wednesday by e-mail. The country had expected a bumper harvest for the season that began in October, he said.

Uganda, which produces both robusta and arabica varieties, mainly ships beans to the European Union, the U.S., Sudan, Switzerland, India, Japan and Russia. The dry season, which runs from December to February, has stretched into March. Rains are expected at the end of the month, the Uganda Meteorological Authority said Monday.

Uganda had planned to export 4 million bags of beans before the crop damage, Nkandu said. Revised estimates will be compiled at the end of the month, he added. The Uganda Coffee Development Authority, the industry’s regulator, said in November that exports would remain at last season’s 3.5 million bags. Each bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

Coffee exports from Oct. 1 through January declined 12 percent to 985,018 bags compared with a year earlier, the regulator said in February.

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