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Uganda Arabica coffee at almost 4.2 US Dollars in Bugisu

Wednesday May 25, 2011

The price for premium Arabica coffee parchment has hit sh10,000 (USD4.24565) per kilogramme and is expected to rise further as supplies dwindle. The prices for premium parchment, a grade of the finest coffee beans, mainly produced for export, have kept a steady rise, jumping from sh8,000 (USD 3.39652) in April to sh10,000 today.

The grade coffee sold at sh7,000 during the same period last year. Ordinary parchment is trading at sh6,000 to sh7,000, depending on the grade. Joseph Werikhe, the Elgon zonal co-ordinator of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, however, predicted the prices would reduce towards the end fo June when the new harvest starts.

Meanwhile, coffee firms in the area have stopped buying coffee and embarked on sensitising farmers on better practices ahead of the harvest season.

This is because of the off-season, which is a period of minimal or no harvests. “With the rising coffee prices and demand, we are instilling in farmers the culture of taking coffee farming as a business. During this off-season, our target is to educate farmers on better farming practices and supply them with seedlings so they can replace the old trees,” said Umar Maleh, the Kyagalanyi Coffee communications officer .

Unlike the previous off-season, coffee buyers have noted that this one was bad with barely any supply of the fry crop (the remnants of the red cherries). The scarcity is due to the poor coffee yields in the region last year, which were caused by an outbreak of the leaf rust disease and landslides that destroyed thousands of coffee trees.

Caroline Nafuna, an employee with Mbale Coffee Exporters, said due to the scarcity, they were selling off the existing stock.

“There’s very little fry crop this off-season. If a farmer brings parchment, we can buy, but purchases have officially been closed,” she said.

Bugisu is the largest producer of Arabica coffee in the country, producing 17,000 to 18,000 metric tonnes of coffee per season. The harvest season stretches from late June to December before the off-season steps in.

By Daniel Edyegu: The New Vision Newspaper

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