The unnerving news continues to come in from rain-soaked Latin America, where heavy rains and flooding have severely affected coffee farmers and their families across the region. We continue our coverage of the heavy rains over Latin America by highlighting this feature from The Wall Street Journal:
Félix Regalado, who cultivates coffee on a small farm in Honduras, the largest coffee producer in Central America, and thousands of other coffee farmers are about to start harvesting the bulk of Central America's crop at a time when supplies are tight. Stockpiles of arabica coffee in exchange-certified warehouses have shrunk nearly 60% since September 2009.
Big coffee roasters were looking to this upcoming harvest in Central and South America for relief from three years of lackluster global production. However, the severe rains, which have already claimed scores of lives across the region, are dashing such hopes.
“The coffee is falling from the plants, both ripe and unripe berries,” said Mr. Regalado. The berries contain the beans that are cleaned and roasted to make coffee. Not only is the actual coffee damaged, but weather conditions make it difficult for farmers to harvest and get the beans to storage terminals or ports.
“When it rains like this, we can't cut,” Mr. Regalado said. “And when it's slippery, we have to transport on horseback.”
But amidst these troubled times, there's a message of hope. This was uploaded to Facebook early this morning by our friend Antonio Meneses:
“For sure sun rises up today in Guatemala! Rain is over, now to concentrate on the damages and next crop coming up” – Antonio Meneses, International Sales Manager at Santa Felisa Coffee