Coffee entrepreneurs in El Salvador fear that in 2012, losses from a possible reduction of the crop will reach $200 million. Negative factors such as the effect of the weather, aging of the plantations and the bi-annuality of coffee are contributing to the situation.
While the 2010/2011 harvest was very good, with 2.5 million quintals, the harvest from this year and the next might only be 1.4 million quintals, in other words, 1.1 million less, warn coffee union leaders.
"I think we will have a harvest of 1.4 million quintals at most, and this should be of general concern in the country because losses will be millions," said Marcelino Samayoa of the Asociación de Beneficiadores de Café (ABECAFE)", reported La Prensa Grafica on its website.
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In El Salvador coffee exports have to wait for the incoming government to finalize the appointment of the new executive director of the Salvadoran Coffee Council.
Adding to existing problems in the coffee export sector, which has seen foreign sales decrease by 56% in the fourth month of the year compared to the same period in 2013, the Salvadoran Coffee Council (CSC) is warning of the possibility that exports of the grain will be further hindered by the process of appointing new management, a job of the incoming government.
Losses caused by the rust disease in Honduras amount to 1.8 million bags, 650,000 quintals in Guatemala, 600,000 in Nicaragua, 400,000 in El Salvador, 200,000 in Costa Rica and 60,000 in Panama.
Those are the estimates of the Central American Organization of Coffee Exporters (ORCECA), who was unwilling to speculate on how much income the region would not receive because of declining exports.
Increased domestic consumption and the negative effect of the rains explain part of the decline.
This year, exports of gourmet, organic and sustainable coffee, among other types, have declined compared to last year.
In addition to these, the elimination of incentives for exporting the grain has also had a distinct effect on sales, which went from 45% to represent only 26% of total coffee exports.
Considering current crop production is down 50%, for the first time the country is studying importing the bean.
Authorities and farmers are making inventories of existing stocks in order to determine the amount that would be required to satisfy the local market.
"The low crop yields, the attack of the 'Ojo de Gallo' fungus and the escape of raw materials to Costa Rica has caused shortage, driving the price per quintal of coffee," adds Prensa.com.