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Uganda records highest coffee exports

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Uganda’s coffee industry has recorded the highest ever export volumes as well as earnings for the Coffee Year 2019/2020 (Oct-Sept), signaling the crop’s steady recovery.

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Latest data from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority shows that coffee exports for the 12 months amounted to 5.36 million 60-kilo bags worth US$512.23million compared to 4.44million bags worth US$433.95million in the previous year due to  increase in production on the account of fruition of newly planted coffee trees and favorable weather. This represents a 20% and 18% increase in both quantity and value, respectively.

UCDA has since 2012 distributed millions of coffee seedlings to farmers across the 98 districts that grow the crop, though low productivity, unpredictable weather conditions, inadequate agricultural extension officers, and low use of fertilizers remains a big hindrance to productivity.

The replanting initiative received a major boost in 2013 when the government unveiled the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) aimed at raising household incomes, fighting poverty and causing social economic transformation.

UCDA says in its September market report that elite coffee seedling distribution that commenced in mid-July for northern region was completed, though planting Arabica continued in Zombo, Nebbi and Arua districts. In the Elgon region, planting was completed for more than 7 million seedlings out of 8.6millon allocated.

South Western region also commenced planting of the 6.5million coffee trees and so is Rwenzori region for more than 9million Arabica seedlings and 50,750 plantlets of Coffee Wild Disease clone.

“Countrywide, especially in central, western and northern regions, strong focus shifted to mobilizing farmers with idle land to plant coffee on commercial scale,” UCDA said.

This development comes  at the time the government has embarked on a new  aggressive strategy aimed at ensuring that the country exports at least 20 million 60-kilo bags of green coffee by 2025.

The government is looking at how to promote local consumption like it is in Ethiopia, which produces more coffee on the African continent.

“We’re first demystifying the myth that coffee makes people not to have sleep. So we have started a process where we bring experts from abroad who are medical people so that they explain that coffee actually has health benefits,” UCDA Managing Director, Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira told URN.

“We’re now coming to the institutions where we have formed university clubs and secondary schools where they appreciate that coffee is a good drink.

Lastly, we’re looking at how we can promote roasting in the country. We have been training youths, barristers how to serve a good cup of coffee. We have helped to generate many cafes around the corners of Kampala but also upcountry,” Iyamulemye added.

Uganda exports most of its coffee to the European Union, Sudan, USA, and India, with Robusta coffee accounting for 85% of the total exports.

Global perspective

Globally, coffee production in 2019/20 is estimated at 169.34 million bags, 2.2% lower than last year, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO) September Coffee Market Report.

Output of Arabica decreased by 5% to 95.99 million bags, while that of Robusta rose by 1.9% to 73.36 million bags.

The report notes that the world coffee consumption is expected to decrease by 0.5% to 167.81 million bags as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on the global economy and greatly limit out-of- home coffee consumption.

As such, coffee year 2019/20 is seen ending in a surplus of 1.54 million bags. This compares to a surplus of 4.4 million bags in 2018/19.

The two consecutive surpluses have limited recovery in prices, which remain below the long-term average of 270US cents per kilogram between 2007 and 2018.

Trend of Uganda’s coffee export volumes and earnings

Year 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Volume (60-kg bag in million) 3.24 3.56 4.2 4.5 4.4 5.36
Value (US$ millions)  403 352 490 492 $433.95 512.23

Source: UCDA

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Anti-tick vaccine drive gives hope to farmers

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Dairy farmers in Ankole Sub-region are optimistic that the anti-tick vaccine launched by the government will solve their problem of tick resistance to acaricides.
For the last 10 years, dairy farmers across the country have decried tick resistance to acaricides, which has been ravaging the livestock sector.

Mr Emmanuel Kyeishe, a resident of Rushere in Kiruhura District and dairy farmer with more than 100 head of cattle, says dairy farmers in the cattle corridor have battled the problem of tick resistance for a long time.
“The issue of ticks has been rampant in the cattle corridor to the extent of losing our cows. We spend a lot on treating them because of ticks since they infect animals with several diseases,”  he said.

Mr Kyeishe said he loses at least two cows every month to tick-borne diseases like East Coast Fever and heart water.
“I have lost 180 cows in the last five years due to ticks and tick-borne diseases. If they do not die, they get blind and some lose their skin. But if we get a vaccine, it will have saved us a lot,” he said.
Mr Kyeishe added that he has resorted to mixing agrochemicals with acaricides since the available ones on the market are failing.

Mr Jackson Bells Katongole, a dairy farmer in Kashari, Mbarara District, said if the government’s move to have anti-tick vaccine is successful, quality of dairy products would improve.
“A farmer loses at least two to five cows every month and we have resorted to using different concoctions from Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya because the problem of ticks has made us helpless,” he said.
He added: “We had reached the point of mixing pesticides with acaricides because of tick resistance and in the process our cows have gone blind, lost skin and others died.”

Mr Katongole further said each cow that dies is valued at around Shs2.5 million, which means that a farmer loses Shs5 million every month.
The Mbarara City Veterinary Officer, Dr Andrew Akashaba, said in Mbarara alone, there are about 60,000 head of cattle, mostly exotic breeds which are prone to ticks.
“Most of the exotic breeds of cattle are at a high risk of acquiring ticks and tick borne diseases, which are a major hindrance to livestock development in the cattle corridor,” he said.
Mr Akashaba added that between 2,000 and 3,000 cows die annually in Mbarara alone due to tick-related diseases.

While launching the final clinical trial of anti-tick vaccine manufactured by National Agriculture Research Organisation at Mbarara Zardi on Thursday, the deputy director general and research coordinator, Dr Yona Baguma, assured the farmers that once the vaccine is approved, they will be spraying their cattle against ticks twice in six months as opposed to twice a week.

Original source: Monitor

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Farmers fail to access farm inputs on Ministry e-platform

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About 3,640 model farmers in Nebbi District, who were registered under the Agricultural Cluster Development Programme (ACDP) to access agricultural inputs on E-voucher, are stuck after failure of the system.

The farmers say the system has affected their planting patterns.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture cluster Development Programme (ACDP) introduced the e-voucher system five years ago to enable farmers access agricultural inputs electronically.

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Farmers on alert as new banana virus hits Western Uganda

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Farmers should stop getting banana plantlets from districts in Western and North-West Uganda to stop the spread of the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) disease, Hebert Musiimenta, the Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF has advised.

The Banana Bunchy Top Virus was first observed in the western Uganda districts in late 2020. In July this year, the ministry raised a red flag when the disease caused havoc on banana plantations in West Nile, Rwenzori and Tooro regions.

An infected plant presents with severe stunting, narrow leaves, chlorotic leaf margins, and dark green streaks on petioles and midribs. The affected plant also shows a rosette-like or bunchy and choked appearance. Diseased plants rarely produce fruit and when they do, the fruit is stunted and twisted.

The disease is spread by aphids and the planting of affected tubers.

The disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.

Hebert Musiimenta, Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), says to contain the spread of the disease, farmers should stop getting banana planting materials from Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Maracha, and Koboko districts in North-West Uganda and Bunyangabu, Kasese, Kabarore, and Bundibugyo districts in Western Uganda.

He also advises the farmers to be cautious about planting materials from Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, and Isingiro districts since they are near the border.  The disease is suspected to have spread to Uganda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Musiimenta advised farmers in an interview with URN that if they are to pick planting materials, they should first consult agriculture officers in their areas to recommend safe planting materials.

Musimenta revealed that a team of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries is investigating the prevalence of the virus in Kigezi region specifically districts neighboring Rwanda and DR Congo.

He says the disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.

Original Source: URN via The independent

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