Kenya coffee earnings jump 17 Percent

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s earnings from exports of its coffee rose 17 percent to $254.2 million during the 2013/14(Oct-Sept) crop season due to improved production and higher prices, the industry regulator said on Thursday.

The east African nation is a relatively small coffee grower compared with other producers, but its speciality beans are known for their quality, attracting demand from roasters.

Kenya’s Coffee Directorate said farmers benefited from subsidised fertiliser from the government during the period, helping them to raise production by a quarter to 49,475 metric tonnes.

Kenyan growers also benefited from better prices after the average auction price of the commodity increased to $212.7 per 50-kg bag in 2013/14 from $166.7 a year earlier.

Uncertainty about the crop in leading producer Brazil after a long drought helped prop up global prices of coffee in 2014. Brazil grows about 40 percent of the world’s arabica beans, which is the main ingredient in most commercial coffee blends.

Kenya secured four new export markets for its coffee in the 2013/14 season, the directorate said.

“Besides traditional European and USA markets, other non-traditional markets expanded to Turkey, Bulgaria, Seychelles and Zambia with Zambia mainly absorbing roasted coffee,” the regulator said.

It said Kenya is expected to produce 45,000 metric tonnes of coffee in 2014/15, fetching $150 million from an estimated average price of $200 per bag.

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