A combination of disease and aging plants has left the Mexican coffee industry with one of its smallest harvests in recent years.
Last week, the National Union of Coffee Producers predicted that crop levels for the current 2015-16 season could be as low as 1.5 million bags of coffee – a fifty percent decline compared to last year’s 3 million total.
“It’s been our great leap forward,” beamed Luiz Samper, a marketing director at the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC).
Samper is referring to the latest set of figures which suggest that the amount of high quality Arabica coffee that is grown in Colombia is set to rise and reach ‘pre-crisis’ levels in the not too distant future. Even better, forecasters are predicting further growth over the next couple of years.
“Climate change was through to affect coffee very gradually, but some shocking situations are being reported as a result of really drastic, chaotic changes, such as very little or too much rain.”
That is what Peter Baker, of the Centre of Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), said last weekend whilst delivering a speech to the 25th annual International Conference of Coffee Science.
An international group that includes the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) and Starbucks is set to create a $23m fund which will aid Latin American coffee farmers as they continue in their ongoing battle against coffee rust.
Coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix), also commonly known as roya, is a disease which can devastate plantations and has, unfortunately, become a worldwide problem. The first documented case of the fungus was recorded in Kenya in the 19th century but it has since spread across Sri Lanka and Asia before making its first appearance in the Americas in the early 1970s.
The coffee industry in Honduras, the third-highest producer of coffee in the Americas behind Brazil and Colombia, received both good and bad news over the weekend.
Production in the Central American country is set to dramatically drop this term as estimates have been revised downwards as coffee rust has blighted the current crop, however it is expected to bounce back next year with early forecasts predicting the second highest yield on record will be picked.
We have reported before on the devastating coffee rust disease which can hit coffee plantations hard.
However, of late, Central America has suffered terribly from this outbreak.
How bad is it and how much damage has been done?