During the first five months of 2012 total sales to European countries summed $316.9 million, 8.1% lower than the $344.9 million for the same period in 2011, according to statistics from the Bank of Guatemala (Banguat).
"The most affected markets for Guatemalan products are: Italy, which has reduced purchases from the country by $14.6 million (-23.3 percent) compared to the first 5 months of 2011, followed by Spain, with a decline in shipments of $13.8 million (-33.8 percent), Belgium, with a reduction of $11.1 million (-22.6 percent), Germany, with a reduction of $9.6 million (-13.2 percent) and Finland, with a reduction in Guatemala purchases of $4 million (-51.9 percent)", writes Alexis Batres for Elperiodico.com.gt.
Coffee exports from Guatemala to Europe increased 42% in the first three months of the current harvest.
Buyers were driven to buy the Guatemalan grain as a quality alternative to Colombia's arabica beans. The South American country is expected to have its worst harvest in 35 years, due to bad weather and a tree replacement program.
The financial crisis affecting Europe has resulted in low prices for melons and watermelons.
So says Alexis Bravo, president of the Nontraditional Agribusiness Group in Panama (Grantap), at the end of the XX International Congress of Producers and Exporters of Melons and Watermelons, held in Panama.
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