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Uganda's Coffee Exports Could Decline 27% In May 2012

Uganda’s coffee exports will probably drop 27 percent from a year earlier in May as an extended rainy season delays drying of the beans, the country’s Coffee Development Authority said.

Africa’s biggest exporter of the crop may ship 180,000 50- kilogram (110-pound) bags this month, the second-worst level this season, the authority said today by e-mail from Kampala, the capital. That compares with 247,460 in May 2011 and 141,220 bags last month, it said.

Uganda may export 3.1 million to 3.2 million bags in 2011-12, according to the authority. This compares with the forecast of 2.8 million to 2.9 million given by National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises on May 8.

Shipments from October through April, the seventh month of the season, rose to 1.34 million bags worth $196.45 million, from 1.32 million bags worth $176.11 a year earlier, the authority said.

The nation exported 3.15 million bags worth $448.89 million in 2010-11, according to the authority. Eastern Africa Fine Coffee Association says Uganda consumes about 3 percent of its annual crop.

Uganda was Africa’s biggest coffee exporter and the world’s ninth-largest in the 12 months through last September, 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

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