JAN 22 (SpillingTheBeans)–The 2013-14 coffee harvest in Guatemala, long one of the world’s top quality producers, continues to struggle from the ongoing outbreak of coffee leaf rust and both local industry officials and foreign analysts agree the current crop is headed to be the potentially smallest in 30 years.
The official grower-run Guatemalan Coffee Association, Anacafe, has projected production in the current harvest to reach 3.0 million bags, but Swiss-UK traders Volcafe/ED&F Man has pegged the current harvest to as low as 2.7 million bags.
“An estimated 55 percent of the Guatemalan coffee area is still affected by leaf rust so it’s fair to say that the average coffee grower has been very hard hit,” Nils Leporowski, president of Anacafe, told Spilling the Beans.
And making matters worse, Leporowski said that as market prices in the last five months have traded around 4-year lows the large majority of producers have not been able to buy fertilizer and other input. This will make it difficult for the crop to post any significant recovery in the next 2014-15 harvest cycle.
Anacafe has yet to issue an official forecast for the next crop, for which the main flowering won’t start until March and April, but Volcafe has pegged the 2014-15 crop in Guatemala to yield just 3.0 million bags.
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