The first signs of some big export problems from El Salvador and Costa Rica, two of the hardest hit countries by the ‘leaf rust’ epidemic, are unfortunately starting to rear their head.
During the first installment of the 2012-2013 harvest between October and January, nine different Latin American countries, excluding Brazil, reported an increase of 11.9% according to the National Coffee Association of Guatemala. Unfortunately, Costa Rica and El Salvador were both reported to be down 2.5% from their usual export numbers.
The Dominican Republic reported growth of 158.34%, Nicaragua 137.5%, Perus 26.71%, Honduras 25.14%, Mexico 14.77%, Guatemala 8.08%, and Colombia 2.5%, all together they showed an increase in production of 8,208,070 bags up from last years 7,334,349 bags (all 60 kilo bags). Whereas El Salvador showed a decrease of 4.37% and Costa Rica a decrease of 2.57%.
Unfortunately, the other countries increase in export numbers is just a result of left over harvest from previous harvest months. If the ‘leaf rust’ problem continues as it is, they should be showing a decrease soon as well. ANACAFE has estimated that the effects will be clearly seen and felt by September harvest 2013. The rust epidemic is currently effecting 65% of the coffee crops in Central America, which is about 933,000 hectares.
Brazil, the world’s largest producer, was not included in these tallies.