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Honduran coffee export estimate slashed due to hurricane damage, roya

  • Honduran coffee growers were hammered by the intense rains wrought by Hurricanes Eta and Iota last November, which worsened a pre-existing outbreak of coffee leaf rust, also known as roya, a chronic problem for the country's farmers, Ordoñez said.
29 Jan, 2021

TEGUCIGALPA: A forecast for Honduran coffee exports this season has been cut by about 11%, an official with national coffee institute IHCAFE said on Thursday, citing damage from the rains unleashed by two recent hurricanes that helped spread a persistent fungus.

The new export estimate for Central America's top coffee producer and exporter was revised downward to 5.6 million 60-kg bags for the current 2020/2021 harvesting season, from 6.3 million bags, IHCAFE board president Francisco Ordoñez told Reuters in an interview.

Honduran coffee growers were hammered by the intense rains wrought by Hurricanes Eta and Iota last November, which worsened a pre-existing outbreak of coffee leaf rust, also known as roya, a chronic problem for the country's farmers, Ordoñez said.

Roya causes powdery, orange spores to appear on the leaves of infected trees. The wind-borne fungus eventually causes leaves to turn black and fall off, killing or severely weakening the tree.

"The production capacity of the country ... was greatly affected by the damage to the beans, which hurt their quality and prevents them from being exported," Ordóñez said.

Coffee export volumes this season are nevertheless expected to be about 2% higher than shipments during the previous 2019/2020 season, when exports reached 5.5 million bags.

The coffee season in Honduras and other Central American producers runs from October to September.

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