Saturday, April 4, 2009

Uganda Cuts 2008-2009 Coffee Export Forecast by 5.7%

By Fred Ojambo - April 3 (Bloomberg) 

Uganda, Africa’s biggest producer of robusta coffee, cut its 2008-2009 forecast for exports of the beans by 5.7 percent after a drought cut yields.

Shipments in the 12 months through Sept. 30 may drop to 3.3 million 60-kilogram (132-pound) bags, compared with a Sept. 23 forecast of 3.5 million bags, David Kiwanuka, spokesman for the state-run Uganda Coffee Development Authority, said today in an interview from the capital, Kampala. The revised figure is 2.8 percent higher than the 3.21 million bags exported last season.

“We have revised our forecast downwards because we have had a drought, which affected our anticipated yields,” he said. “We have tentatively revised the forecast to 3.3 million bags.”

The East African country experienced a dry spell in the first three months of this year, which affected the secondary crop in the main producing central and eastern regions, as well as the main crop in the southern and southwestern regions.

Exports from Oct. 1 through March 31 rose 3.3 percent to 1.66 million bags, according to a tally by Bloomberg News. The country exported 256,579 bags last month, the agency said.

Uganda is Africa’s second-biggest producer of coffee, after Ethiopia. Robusta accounts for about 85 percent of the country’s annual output and the country earned $388.4 million from coffee exports in 2007-08.