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Commodities

US purchase of Kenyan specialty coffee drops after surge

The US has fallen back to position three in purchasing of Kenya’s specialty coffee
The US has fallen back to position three in purchasing of Kenya’s specialty coffee after peaking in the 2017/2018 season. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The US has fallen back to position three in purchasing of Kenya’s specialty coffee after peaking in the 2017/2018 season.

Latest data from Coffee Directorate indicate America trailed Germany and Belgium in purchases after leading in the last season in both quantities and price offered.

According to the Directorate, the US bought 6.6 million kilogrammes of the beverage worth Sh3 billion, a decline from Sh7 billion realised in 2017/2018.

Interim head Isabella Ngoge says this could be attributed to competition from other growing countries as well as low global prices.

“We witnessed a scenario last year where both the volumes and value of the coffee sold to the US went down and this is mainly because of competition from other countries that are producing specialty coffee,” said Ms Ngoge.

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Belgium reclaimed its top position in the review period purchasing coffee worth Sh4.1 billion, followed by Germany at Sh3.8 billion. Germany, however, bought more than Belgium but offered lower price.

In 2016, Kenya was the focus country during the international coffee expo in the US where the country put up a strong case for its coffee.

The move paid off as the US became the number one buyer of the produce in 2017.

Unlike other countries, the American market goes for specialty coffee only, which is in high demand in the US.

America has been buying close to 10 percent of Kenya’s annual export of 46,000 tonnes, but paying a premium price compared to other major buyers.

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