Market News

Coffee auction takes one-month break in May


Nairobi Coffee Exchange chief executive Daniel Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The coffee auction is set to go on recess next month as the main crop season comes to an end following a decline of high-quality beans for trading.

Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) has announced that the auction will hold its last auction on May 4 before breaking for one month.

The main crop season started in November last year with the crop sustaining the market up to this month when the ratio of high-quality beans started dwindling.

The auction will now be banking on the short-season crop from eastern and parts of western Kenya when it resumes in June, which will sustain the auction up to November when the main crop coffee is expected to hit the market again.

The auction normally goes on recess around June of every year but this year is breaking early because of a shortage of quality beans to trade.

The low-quality coffee has seen the price of the commodity oscillate between highs and lows during the sales.

In the latest trading held last week, Kenya’s top-grade coffee –AA declined to $299 (Sh34,385) from $331 (Sh38,065) in the previous sale while grade AB fetched $284 (32,660) from $291 ( Sh33,465 in the previous auction.

Kenya’s top grades are normally in high demand in the world market. The country has one of the best coffees in the world that is highly sought after by roasters for blending with other low quality from other regions.

However, the production has significantly dropped when compared with her peers in the region with Uganda, which was at par with the country in the previous years now widening the gap.

From the early 1990s to the 2010/11 crop year, the area under coffee has declined by 35 percent from 170,000 hectares to 109, 795 hectares as farmers abandoned the crop due to poor management.

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