Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

INTERNATIONAL – Uganda’s coffee exports dropped 17 percent year-on-year in February, undercut by scant rains in some coffee growing areas, the state-run regulator Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said.

The beans are one of Uganda’s major exports and a big earner of foreign exchange for the east African country which largely cultivates robusta variety.

Shipments in February totalled 323,828 60-kg bags of coffee, down from 390,677 bags exported in same month a year.

In January this year, Uganda’s coffee exports dipped slightly in January compared to the same month a year earlier, according to a report by the state-run regulator Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

Uganda exported 395,097 60-kg bags of coffee in January, slightly lower than the 401,930 bags shipped in same month last year, according to a UCDA report seen by Reuters on Monday.

Uganda is Africa’s leading exporter of the beans. Earnings from the crop are one of the East African country’s biggest sources of foreign exchange.

In October 2018, Uganda’s coffee farmers started their first harvest of the season with expectations of a bumper crop in Africa’s top exporter of the beans.