Despite the reduction in prices of Arabica coffee parchment at the start of the harvest season early last month, the prices of roasted and powder coffee have stayed up.
A kilogramme of packed coffee powder and roasted coffee beans cost sh21,000 since July, up from 18,000 in January.
The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) attributes the rise to the scarcity of parchment created by the destruction of over 60,000 coffee trees during the Bududa landslides disaster in March.
UCDA also blamed the rise on an outbreak of the leaf rust disease that struck plantations.
The price of premium coffee parchment that shot to sh10,000 per kilogramme at the peak of the coffee scarcity and the runaway inflation last month has dropped to sh8,400.
Deo Muduku, a coffee roaster with Main Traders Ltd, a local coffee firm, attributed the stability in prices of coffee powder and roast beans to the quality of parchment on the market. Mani Traders roasts and grinds 22,500 kilogrammes of coffee annually.
“Being the start of the season, the parchment we have on the market is of low quality.
“This is due to the dry spell that hit the coffee trees during flowering and fruition,” Muduku noted.
He explained that because of this, 100 kilogrammes of fresh parchment can only yield 40 kilogrammes of dry and clean coffee.
This is instead of the usual 60 kilogrammes that is received from 100 kilogrammes of fresh coffee.
Muduku pointed out that successive coffee yields were bound to be of better quality. However, he noted that coupled with the rising inflation that has increased costs of production, the prices of coffee powder and roast beans may stay up.
However, William Wepukhulu, the caretaker manager at the Bugisu Cooperative Union, observed that the prices were high because there were few coffee beans roasted or ground into powder.
“Over 90% of the Arabica coffee parchment harvested in Bugisu and Sebei regions is exported abroad. The amount roasted and ground locally is negligible.
That explains the fluctuation in prices,” Wepukhulu said.