Africa’s Coffee Production May Drop 18% in 2011-12, ICO Says


(bloomberg) Coffee production in Africa may drop 18 percent in the 2011-12 crop year due to a smaller crop in Ethiopia, according to the International Coffee Organization.

Output in the country, Africa’s biggest coffee grower, will drop to 14.4 million bags next season from 17.5 million bags in the 2010-11 crop year, the London-based organization estimates.

“The fall in production is attributable mainly to the poorer performance of Ethiopia,” the ICO said in a monthly report e-mailed today.

Coffee production in South America will fall 4.5 percent to 60.2 million bags, according to the organization. A better crop in Colombia, the world’s second-largest producer of arabica beans, will partially offset a reduction in output in Brazil, the ICO said.

The coffee crop in Brazil, the world’s largest grower, is estimated to fall to 43.5 million bags from 48.1 million bags as trees enter the lower-yielding half of a two-year cycle, the ICO said, citing the country’s official estimates.

“According to the official estimates of the Brazilian authorities, production in crop year 2011-12, will fall by 9.5 percent in relation to production in crop year 2010-2011,” the ICO said. “If these estimates are confirmed, this would be the lowest fall ever recorded for an off year,” according to the report.

Output in Asia and Oceania is forecast to rise by 5.6 percent to 37.1 million bags, the ICO estimated in today’s report. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of robusta coffee and Indonesia is the third largest.

Arabica coffee is grown mainly in Latin America and favored for specialty beverages such as those made by Starbucks Corp. Robusta, used in instant coffee and espresso, is harvested mostly in Asia and parts of Africa.

Production in Mexico and Central America will climb by 4.2 percent to 18.3 million bags on improved harvests in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua, according to the ICO.

World output will be about 130 million bags, down from 133.3 million bags in 2010-11, the organization said. Arabica bean output will fall by 6.2 percent to 78.3 million bags, while the robusta crop will expand by 3.9 percent to 51.7 million bags, the ICO estimated.

Global coffee consumption was estimated at 134 million bags in the 2010 calendar year, up from 131.3 million bags in 2009, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net