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Falling maize prices worry farmers as harvest starts



Mr Francis Okullo, a farmer, harvests maize grain from his farm in Kaberamaido District. PHOTO/EMMANUEL EUMU 

The falling gate prices of maize grain at the private aggregating centres in Teso Sub-region are worrying farmers as the harvesting period gets underway.

In Kaberamaido District, the price in the recent two weeks has fallen to Shs550 per kilogramme down from Shs1,400.
Similarly in Serere District, the prices have crashed from Shs1,500 per kilogramme to Shs500 in Pingire and Bugondo sub-counties.

Mr Francis Okullo, the director of Rays of Hope in Akokma Village, Swagere Parish, Ochero Sub-county, Kaberamaido District, who is expecting 40 tonnes of maize grain from his 32 acres, told Daily Monitor that he will not risk selling his harvest at this giveaway price.

“I injected in this maize project a fortune of more than Shs4 million in labour and the rest, so giving it out at this low gate price is a waste of energy,” he said.

Mr Okullo said he intends to add value to his maize to avoid being cheated by middlemen and buyers.

“I risked my last year’s harvest from 40 acres and only settled down for Shs10m, this time I will not be prey to this exploitation,” he said, adding that his calculations are that if he adds value to his maize, he would earn more than Shs40 million when normality returns.

Mr Okullo said his breakthrough in maize farming is in the secret of DH04 variety, which is much adaptive to the weather and is high yielding.

Ms Grace Susan Akello, a produce buyer on Opopotera Road in Soroti Town, told Daily Monitor that prices for dried maize grain started falling a month ago.

Ms Akello said by last evening, she was buying maize grain in Soroti Town at Shs720 per kilogramme, adding that they would also buy at Shs550 per kilogramme but they have to consider transport costs for those who buy in the villages and supply them.

“We don’t intend to cheat farmers, our gate prices are determined by demand from the market, which demand is none prevalent yet more supply from farmers is expected to start coming in,” Ms Akello added.

Ms Joyce Akello, a processor, said the prices will even drop to as low as Shs400 in a few days. She said she is currently buying a kilogramme of maize at Shs700.

But Ms Kevin Adeu of Wegiyami produce store , who is selling a kilogramme at Shs600, says the uncertainty in the prices has been worsened by the closure of academic institutions, which are the key consumers of maize.
The other buyers have been Kenyans, and beer making companies but there is low demand for beer as a result of the lockdown of bars.

Mr Joseph Etoori, the chairperson of Teso Cooperative Union, said farmers should learn to aggregate their farm products, and also put trust in cooperatives for a collective bargaining power than rely on private aggregators whose aim is profits at the expense of a farmer.

“I know we operate in a liberal economy but we can sail through this exploitation from middlemen if we once again give cooperative unions to work,” he added.

Source: Daily Monitor

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Robusta coffee hits record high to trade at sh7,500 per kilo in Ibanda



Robusta coffee prices have continued their upward trend by gaining sh1,000 in value over the past month. 

Robusta is trading at a high of sh7,500 per kilogramme of quality beans in Ibanda, while traders quoted low-grade robusta coffee beans at sh7,200 per kilo.

This compares to sh6,500 a kilo four weeks ago and sh5,600 recorded two months back. The sh7,500 per kilo is the highest for Robusta coffee in a long time in Ibanda and surpasses the sh6,900 recorded during the last harvest season.

Deogratias Tihwayo, a coffee trader in Ibanda town, attributed the increase to the quality of this season’s coffee beans compared to previous seasons. He said this has attracted more buyers and, hence, pushed up the prices.

David Kiiza, the chairperson of Kashangura Coffee Co-operative in Kashungura, Kagongo Division, said farmers were observing the recommended agronomical practices that have improved quality and out-turn. 

Meanwhile, Arabica coffee was unchanged over the reporting period, trading between sh8,000 and sh8,500 per kilogramme in Ibanda town and Kashangura. Arabica coffee hit a record high of sh12,000 a kilo last season. 

However, there has been subdued demand over the past months with the crop out of season.

UCDA daily market prices

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicative figures for March 20 quoted robusta (clean) at between sh7,000 and sh8,000 a kilo, Arabica parchment sh8,500 – sh9,500, and Kiboko ranged from sh2,300 to sh2,600 per kilogramme, among others.

Source: New Vision

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Falling coffee prices, reduced output forecasts rattle Uganda farmers



There has been a slump in international coffee prices and shipping costs in the last quarter of 2022

Uganda’s coffee industry is walking into a challenging 2023 defined by falling prices and diminished output forecasts following the recent dry spell that hit major growing areas.

While the sector enjoyed a boom between 2020 and 2022 – with surging coffee prices, rising export volumes and considerable incomes for farmers – decline in international shipping costs and improved production forecasts in Brazil triggered a slump in coffee prices in the last quarter of 2022, according to industry players.

International shipping costs dropped from record highs of $10,000 per container charged on certain sea routes in January 2022 to less than $2,000. Shipping fees charged per 20-foot container ferried from Indonesia to North America, for example, are estimated at $800-$1,000 currently.

Consequently, local and international coffee prices have dropped since October 2022.

International robusta coffee prices fell from an average price of $2,400 per tonne to $1,856 per tonne towards the end of last year, according to industry data. Local robusta coffee prices declined from Ush7,200 ($1.9) per kilogramme to Ush5,800 ($1.6) per kilogramme during the second half of 2022 while Arabica coffee prices fell from Ush11,000 ($2.9) per kilogramme to Ush8,000 ($2) per kilogramme in the period.

In 2021, average coffee prices stood at more than Ush15,000 ($4) per kilogramme.

Dry spell

Robusta coffee production accounts for more than 60 percent of Uganda’s overall coffee output.

Besides gloomy coffee price forecasts for 2023, a severe dry spell in the past six months could pose a huge threat to coffee production levels. The weather affected major coffee-growing areas like the Central region and risks cutting this year’s output to around 5.5 million bags, industry players forecast.

“Brazil and Vietnam are headed for a bumper coffee harvest this year while India and Indonesia have discounted their local coffee prices in a way that has undercut Uganda’s growth momentum on the international market,” said Robert Byaruhanga, chief executive of local exporter Funzo Coffee Ltd.

Post-Covid shift

Asian and Latin American coffee exporters are regaining dominance in European and North American markets after the lockdown period because of the lower coffee prices, reduced freight charges, shorter port clearance turnaround times and reasonable coffee quality grades, Byaruhanga explained.

Ugandan farmers are now holding onto their coffee produce in anticipation of better prices.

Overall coffee exports stood at 6.26 million bags valued at $862.28 million in 2021/22 compared to 6.08 million bags worth $559.16 million registered in 2020/21, data from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority shows.

An estimated 447,162. 60 kilogramme bags of coffee valued at $64.1 million were exported in November 2022 at an average price of $2.39 per kilogramme — 6 US cents lower than the average price of $2.45 per kilogramme posted in October 2022.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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Over 40 goats die of PPR disease in Madi-Okollo



At least 43 goats have died of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) disease, also known as ‘goat plague’ and several others are undergoing treatment in Madi-Okollo district.

Madi-Okollo district veterinary officer, Dr Charles Onzima, says the viral disease, which is related to rinderpest in sheep as well as goats, has claimed the lives of goats in Olali parish in Ogoko sub-county.

He adds that PPR disease was confirmed in the district after 500 local and 94 Boer goats were supplied to families in Olali parish under a poverty eradication programme that he suspects infected the local goats.

43 of the boar goats died while 10 of the local goats of the communities also died of PPR disease.

Onzima says immediately after receiving information about the disease, the veterinary officers got the goats manifesting the signs of PPR that include sudden onset of depression, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, sores in the mouth, breathing difficulty and death among others.

He says that they have already had three rounds of vaccination for the available goats in the affected area.

Original Source: New Vision Via

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