Nicaragua’s coffee production will challenge record highs next season, supported by an improved flowering period, and by the continued recovery in plantations from the Central American outbreak of roya fungus.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Managua bureau, in its first estimate for Nicaraguan coffee production in 2015-16, on an October-to-September basis, pegged it at 2.14m bags.
That would represent a second successive season of recovering output, since the outbreak of coffee rust, caused by roya, which can causes severe yield losses, and can kill trees.
Indeed, the harvest would top the existing record harvest of 2.10m bags, achieved in 2012-13.
In fact, Nicaragua was less affected by the outbreak of coffee rust – whose virulence depends on factors such as weather and tree cultivar, besides the application of agrichemicals and nutrients – than some other parts of Central America.
Even last season, “different coffee associations reported that the coffee rust was a not a significant problem… when compared to the previous cycle”, the UDS bureau said.
“Medium-size and large farmers were able to control the coffee rust through the application of fungicides and fertilizers.”
Meanwhile, a drought in Nicaragua last year “was also beneficial to control the propagation of the coffee rust fungus”.
Furthermore, unlike last season, when flowering period was marked by a lack of rain, causing factors such as abortion of cherries and irregular ripening, this year has seen an “excellent flowering of the coffee trees”.
And some renovated plantations are beginning to produce.
Nicaragua’s government has, like administrations in some other nations for which coffee represents a large foreign currency earner, proposed funding to help increase bean production, and has a target of doubling output over the next decade, helped by renovation of old plantations.
The coffee industry employs about 15% of Nicaragua’s labour force, and accounts for 54% of the country’s agriculture.
‘Low cultural preference’
The increased output in 2015-16 will lift exports too, also expected to rise for a second successive season, to 2.04m bags.
That would return shipments close to the 2.07m bags exported in 2012-13, and is backed by Nicaraguans’ relatively low consumption of coffee themselves.
Nicaraguans have a “low cultural preference for drinking coffee”, and even when they do, opt for cheaper beans.
“Most of the coffee consumed in Nicaragua is not suitable for export,” the bureau said.
Major coffee export markets for the Central American country include the US, Germany and Belgium.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/nicaragua-coffee-output-to-rebound-to-record-high–8455.html)