Looming Long-term Economic Effect of Climate Change on Uganda’s Coffee Industry

Coffee is Uganda’s most valuable agricultural export commodity - it contributed US$ 544 million in 2016/17 (about 20 percent of total export earnings. Furthermore, the crop employs over 3.5 million households. To accelerate social and economic transformation to the low middle income status, the country targets to increase the annual coffee production to 20 million (60 kilogram bags) by 2020, as opposed to the current 4.6 million bags. However this important crop commodity to the economy is under serious threat due to the effects of climate change. Climate change is having a negative impact on the coffee output via three avenues i.e. (i) slowing down the expansion of acreage under coffee by limiting the seedling replanting programme; and meteorologically reducing arable land conducive for coffee growing ; (ii) constraining the potential yield attainable in a rain-fed low input production system to figures below the 600kg per hectare; (iii) reduction in the quality of green coffee beans produced, hence reducing the value of coffee exported. In this brief, the lead pathways are highlighted through which climate change is likely to negatively impact on Uganda’s coffee industry.