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Commodities

Coffee earnings down a fifth to Sh10bn in year to July

Daniel Mbithi
NCE chief executive Daniel Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Coffee earnings dropped Sh3 billion in the year to July as low prices at the international market continued to impact negatively on producer incomes.

The Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) market report indicates the crop earned the country Sh10.5 billion at the end of last month, down from Sh13.5 billion realised in the same period last year, representing a 21 percent decline.

NCE chief executive Daniel Mbithi said the low earnings resulted from a consistent trend of low prices at New York Coffee Exchange, where Kenya trades nearly all of its produce.

“The earnings dropped on account of the dip in prices at the New York terminal, which touched a record low of 86 US cents a pound in 2019 compared with a high of 120 last year,” he said.

The price of the commodity in New York has, however, now shot to 106 cents per pound from a low of 90 cents per pound when the market closed for recess in June.

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Subsequently, the average price for a 50-kilo bag dropped to Sh15,800 in the review period from Sh21,000 realised in the corresponding period in 2018.

The volumes sold during the review period was up by four percent to 509,096 60-kilogramme bags compared with last year’s 529,733.

The Coffee Directorate has urged Kenyans to consume more coffee and cut reliance on export to cushion the price from external shocks. Kenya has one of the best coffees in the world, highly sought-after by roasters for blending with other low quality from other regions.

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

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