Vietnam’s coffee crop may not have suffered so badly from poor weather and disease after all, with US officials lifting their forecast for the world’s second largest harvest – albeit not above year-ago levels.
The US Department of Agriculture bureau in Hanoi nudged higher to 29.3m bags (1.76m tonnes) its forecast for the Vietnamese crop in 2014-15.
While a little lower than last year’s record harvest, which the bureau pegged at 29.83m bags, the estimate was slightly above the USDA’s official estimate, and nearly 2m bags above a forecast earlier in the week from coffee merchant Volcafe.
Variable, or favourable?
The USDA bureau acknowledged some of the issues highlighted by Volcafe, which noted “increased incidence of disease… variable weather”, besides the hangover on tree productivity from last season’s record harvest, in making its 27.4m-bag forecast.
The bureau said that “some growers reported yield loss due to the coffee trees being stressed by the record production the previous year”.
But weather, “overall, was quite favourable for the development of coffee trees”.
And although intelligence from exporters suggests “coffee yield is forecasted to be slightly lower, that loss is almost fully made up by continued area expansion”.
The bureau pegged Vietnam’s coffee area at 670,000 hectares, up 5% year on year, and well above a government target of 500,000 hectares.
However, while the bureau was more generous than Volcafe on production, it was less generous on exports, which it forecast at 26.63m bags in 2014-15, on an October to September basis, down 150,000 bags year on year.
“Although exportable supplies are forecast at a record level in 2014-15, total exports are forecast slightly below the previous marketing year due to anticipated increased export competition from India and Indonesia,” the bureau said.
India and Indonesia are also major Asian producers of robusta beans, of which Vietnam is the top grower.
Conversely, Volcafe said that despite the drop in Vietnamese production, “record high beginning stocks”, of nearly 5m bags, “will allow for an increased export campaign in 2014-15”, higher by more than 1m bags.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/volcafe-us-officials-clash-on-vietnam-coffee)