Widespread flooding and road closures are being reported up and down Latin America, affecting coffee trade routes and farms. Our friends in Huehuetenango, Finca El Injerto, are reporting nearby flooding and blocked roads. “At the farm,” Arturo Aguirre told us, “only a fungus disease is affecting us because of so much humidity!”
Alejandro Cadena of Virmax contacted us from Colombia: “Our biggest concern at the moment if the road to Buenaventura, the biggest port in Colombia, which has been affected by heavy landslides.”
Four Barrel Coffee’s head roaster Tal Mor sent us a video from Costa Rica:
“The rain was dumping,” Tal tweeted, “and this flooded river blocked us 100 ft. short of the Farami mill.”
Meanwhile, former Barefoot Coffee owner Andy Newbom is in El Salvador. He reports via Facebook, “We live higher up in [San Salvador] so we are fine. The rest of Central America is a disaster. There is another week of rain predicted from these storms. It will get much worse.”
Counter Culture Coffee buyer Kim Elena Bullock has been in Central America for the last few weeks. She sent Sprudge.com this exclusive report from Jacaltenango:
The producer groups we work with in Chiapas, Mexico and Huehuetenango, Guatemala swear it hasn’t stopped raining for more than an hour at a time in the last two weeks and although some people suggest that we should reserve our judgement about the effects of these rains on the crop until a few weeks from now, they’re probably being optimistic (and probably for my benefit) and I am definitely expecting reduced yields this harvest.
Coffee at high altitudes hasn’t begun to ripen yet, but at lower altitudes, many ripening cherries have absorbed more water over the past couple of weeks than they can handle and split open, allowing bacteria to enter the fruit. To take a step back from coffee and my up-close-and-personal perspective on this micro region, southern Guatemala has suffered much more than crop loss – multiple landslides on the Panamerican Highway have and will continue to cripple commerce and travel (most likely including mine, as I have plans to ride a bus to Guatemala City tomorrow morning) and flooding in Xela caused more than a dozen deaths in two days.
Both the Proisch and Codech organizations we work with are steeling themselves for losses up to 25% and I likely won’t make my planned stop at Finca Nueva Armenia to be able to estimate what their loss might be because the Recinos brothers are blocked in Guatemala City.
The devastation was also reported by the Sacramento Bee:
At least 21 people have been killed in Guatemala and thousands of others were evacuated or saw their homes destroyed by the incessant downpours.
In El Salvador, rivers have overflowed their banks, destroying villages and prompting an evacuation of about 4,000 people from their homes, the country’s disaster management office said in a statement Friday.
In Honduras, six people have been killed in floods and the roads connecting the nation to Guatemala have been destroyed. Other communities have been left isolated by the floods. In Nicaragua, four people have died this week.
Stick with Sprudge.com for the latest, as we wish safety and care to our friends at origin.