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Uganda and Kenya Poised for Coffee Export Growth in 2023/24: Increased Production and Favorable Conditions Drive Expansion.

Uganda and Kenya, two prominent coffee-producing countries in East Africa, are poised to witness a surge in coffee exports during the 2023/24 marketing year. The governments of both countries have implemented measures to enhance production, coupled with favorable weather conditions following a period of drought. This article explores the factors contributing to the projected increase in coffee exports and provides insights into the strategies employed by Uganda and Kenya to bolster their coffee industries.

Uganda’s Record-High Production: Uganda is expected to achieve a record-high coffee production of 6.85 million 60-kilogram bags in the upcoming marketing year. This represents a 4% increase, attributed to abundant rainfall and the maturation of new high-yielding Robusta varieties planted between 2017 and 2019. The availability of quality seedlings and extension services provided by the government since 2017 has been instrumental in driving production growth.

Kenya’s Recovery from Drought: Kenya’s coffee production is projected to increase by 6.7%, reaching 800,000 bags in the 2023/24 marketing year. This growth can be attributed to a recovery from drought conditions and increased fertilizer application. Despite a shortage of planting materials and the conversion of coffee plantations to real estate, Kenya’s total harvested area is expected to remain unchanged at 105,000 hectares.

Rising Coffee Consumption in Uganda: While coffee consumption in Uganda is on the rise, with an estimated increase from 300,000 to 325,000 bags, the focus remains on expanding exports due to higher production and increased exportable supplies. The proliferation of coffee cafes in urban areas, especially in Kampala, has contributed to the growing demand for coffee within the country.

Government Support and Planting Expansion: Uganda’s government has been actively supporting coffee farmers since 2017, providing them with high-quality seedlings and extension services. Despite a decline in support during 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and limited resources, the previously planted high-yielding Robusta trees have started to mature. The acreage dedicated to coffee cultivation has also increased, expanding from 450,000 hectares in 2016/17 to 560,000 hectares in 2019/20.

Favorable Climatic Conditions and Yields in Kenya: Kenya has experienced favorable rainfall throughout its coffee-growing regions, resulting in robust flowering. This is expected to translate into higher yields during the October 2023 harvest. The consistent rainfall has contributed to the recovery of Kenya’s coffee industry after the challenges posed by drought.

Price Trends and Global Supply: Global coffee prices have been relatively low compared to the previous marketing year due to increased supplies from key exporting countries like Brazil and Colombia. In April 2023, the average price per 50 kg bag stood at $194, marking a 34% decrease from the previous year. Nevertheless, these prices remain higher than those observed in 2019/20 and 2018/19, which averaged $181 and $176 per bag, respectively, during the October to April period.

Conclusion: Uganda and Kenya are primed for increased coffee exports in the 2023/24 marketing year. The efforts of their respective governments to boost production, coupled with favorable weather conditions, have contributed to this optimistic outlook. Both countries have witnessed significant growth in their coffee industries and are well-positioned to capitalize on the rising global demand for high-quality coffee. With continued support and sustainable practices, Uganda and Kenya have the potential to further strengthen their positions as key players in the global coffee market.

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