Heavy rains are expected to produce a rich coffee harvest between June and September, a senior industry official says.
KAMPALA - Heavy rains in Uganda are expected to produce a rich coffee harvest between June and September and could see the country beat its export forecast of 3 million 60-kg bags for the 2012/2013 season, according to a senior industry official.
Weather forecasters in Africa's No.1 coffee exporter have said most parts of the country will experience above normal rains between March and May after a dry spell in the first two months of the year.
"These rains should guarantee a bumper crop between June and September," said David Muwonge, marketing and production manager at the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE).
"In those months harvesting will be underway in western and southwestern regions and I think we're likely to see a significantly high yield from those areas."
The two regions account for 45 percent of Uganda's total annual coffee output while the central and eastern regions produce the rest.
According to the state-run Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) Uganda has shipped 1.3 million bags of coffee in the first five month of the 2012/2013 (Oct-Sep) season, from 1.1 million bags exported in the same period last year.
Earnings from the beans are a primal source of hard currency for east Africa's third-largest economy which mainly cultivates Robusta coffee variety.
However, earnings in the first five months of this season dropped to $167.5 million compared to $172.1 million for the same period last season.
"Healthy rains at this stage will help beans to form and mature well and I am actually confident that if these rains continue as predicted this season's output might exceed 3 million bags," Muwonge said.
Uganda''s Jun-Sep coffee exports set to rise