Uganda coffee in hot demand in Italy as exports climb to 30-year high

Thursday October 21 2021
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By The Citizen Reporter

Demand for Ugandan coffee in Italy, where espresso lovers abound, has helped increase exports of the beans to the highest in at least 30 years,reports Bloomberg.

In August, Uganda overtook Vietnam to become the second-largest supplier of coffee to Italy for the first time this year, behind Brazil.

According to Bloomberg, total shipments jumped 21 percent to 6.5 million 60-kilogram bags in the year through September - Uganda’s highest in three decades - about a third of that going to Italy.

Italy and Germany, which together produced more than 60percent of the European Union’s roasted coffee last year, have diversified their sources for the beans. With Brazil and Vietnam having had trouble exporting amid shipping disruptions, European buyers increased uptake from growers including Uganda and India.

"Uganda has been a surprise over the past couple of years, it’s a successful case of production, expansion and promotion," said Carlos Mera, head of agricultural commodities markets analysis at Rabobank in London.

 Given supply chain problems in South America and southeast Asia, roasters have been buying a little more from elsewhere and have been more flexible in blending, according to Mera.


Better beans

Uganda is Africa’s biggest coffee exporter and the continent’s second-largest producer of the beans after Ethiopia.
 President Yoweri Museveni’s administration has overseen the planting of millions of new trees in recent years as part of plans to increase annual output to 20 million bags by 2030.

"There was some government involvement and we’re seeing the results, production has been increasing quite significantly and it’s likely to continue to do so," Mera said.

Why Uganda’s coffee is unique

Uganda's name is written indelibly in the story of coffee for one special reason: it gave Robusta Coffee to the world. Most of the world's soluble coffee is made from Robusta, and the beans from Uganda are said to be some of the finest. The East African nation is the eighth biggest coffee grower globally and Africa's second-biggest after Ethiopia.