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Brazil: growers curtail quality farming.

Brazil: Growers curtail quality farming

A medium-sized coffee grower used to wash the coffee beans he grows on his Mococa plantation to improve the taste. Times are hard this year for Brazil's coffee growers, and the grower has decided to pass them straight through to the drying process instead, says an article in The Financial Times.

"Prices are just too low," he explained. As a result, he admits the quality of his coffee will suffer. With financial resources tighter than ever, market players in Brazil believe the quality of Brazil's coffee is suffering. "A lack of funds is causing the quality of Brazilian coffee to deteriorate," said Orlando Correa, president of the Coffee Trade Centre in Rio de Janeiro.

Many coffee producers are unloading lower quality beans now to raise money to finance their harvest during the next few months. "We should really pick the beans three separate times to ensure they are gathered at their ripe cherry stage, a grower said, "But this year I will collect all the beans at once. We'll have some unripe beans mixed in, but's there's not much I can do about it." He also complained that he hasn't been able to afford all of the fertilizers and soil correctors he needs to keep his farm in top shape

Deteriorating quality this year will probably be accompanied by a drop in harvest size. According to the Mococa coffee growers' union, the area produces 40% less coffee than it did a few years ago. A consensus appears to be emerging that this year's production will be slightly less than in 1990. The trouble is that no one really knows how big last year's harvest was. Producers and exporters alike believe that 1990's estimate of between 22M and 23M bags was an underestimate. Internal consumption of approximately 8M bags and stocks of about three million bags last year would have left about 18M bags available for export. "If last year's numbers were correct," said Oswaldo de Aranha Neto, president of the Federation of Brazilian Coffee Exporters (Febec), "there wouldn't be any coffee left on the market. And there is alot."

One Rio de Janeiro-based exporter is working with crop estimates of 25.7M bags last year and 24.2M bags this year. Brazil's coffee farmers are using several new schemes to confront the crisis. For instance, many growers are replanting coffee bushes much closer together than they have in the past.

As of early-August, the Brazilian government has decided to reopen coffee export registrations for 12 with the same rules that had been in effect up to March 21st.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:low coffee bean prices cause Brazilian growers to change harvesting methods
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:433
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