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Uganda Coffee Exports Drop for Second Month as Rains Curb Drying

Coffee exports from Uganda, Africa’s biggest shipper of the beans, fell for a second month in December from a year earlier after rains affected ripening and drying of the crop, the coffee authority said.

Shipments declined to 240,403 60-kilogram (132-pound) bags from 241,981 bags a year earlier, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority said yesterday by e-mail from Kampala, the capital.

While exports were lower than an earlier forecast of 250,000 bags, they surpassed 223,401 bags recorded the previous month because of a bigger crop, the authority said.

“Rains last month hampered the ripening and drying of coffee and impacted negatively on exports,” David Muwonge, the deputy executive director of the Kampala-based National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises, said by phone.

The European Union, U.S., Sudan, Switzerland, India and Russia are the major importers of Ugandan beans, according to the authority.

Uganda’s coffee exports in the first three months of the 2012-13 season dropped to 641,828 bags from 684,443 bags a year earlier, according to a tally of the authority figures by Bloomberg News.

The country’s export earnings from the crop dropped to $392.75 million last season from $448.89 million earned from 3.15 million bags a year earlier, according to the UCDA.

The East African nation, the continent’s biggest grower of the beans after Ethiopia, consumes about 3 percent of its annual crop, according to the Eastern Africa Fine Coffee Association.

Uganda was Africa’s biggest coffee exporter and the world’s ninth-largest in the 12 months through September 2011, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization. Robusta beans, used in espressos and instant drinks, account for about 85 percent of Ugandan production, according to the authority.

By Fred Ojambo, Kampala

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