America’s coffee trees dying and growers need help

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Mexico's Congress will consider spending 2.75 billion pesos ($212 million) to help coffee farmers hit by a major outbreak of leaf rust and falling prices, a senior lawmaker said this week.

The funding would aim to provide farmers with subsidies, replace aging plantations, and give new credit and training opportunities following the spread of the tree-killing fungus roya.

"Those of us on the agriculture committee are budgeting 2.75 billion pesos to be able to address all of these questions,"Hector Narcia, chairman of the coffee sub-committee from the lower house's agriculture committee, told Reuters.

"What we're going to do is convince our colleagues to approve a significant budget. If that doesn't happen, we are practically sounding the death knell for this product."

Coffee prices have fallen by about half from a mid-2011 peak, leaving farmers to face a double-whammy of less revenue on top of depressed output from infected trees.

The deadly fungus that has hit Central America particularly hard this year kills leaves on coffee trees, with weakened plants producing less coffee. Between them, Mexico and Central America account for more than a fifth of global output of arabica beans.

Coffee farmers also need affordable insurance and price hedges, which the proposed funds could provide, said Narcia, a member of Mexico's Green Party, coalition partners of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The finance ministry submitted the 2014 budget proposal to the lower house earlier this month and Congress is due to approve the funding plan for next year by mid-November.

Narcia said he and other members of Congress had been touring major coffee-producing areas, and that the government's campaign launched in February to prevent coffee leaf rust had had some success.

Gabriel Barreda, head of Mexico's national coffee association AMECAFE, said in a separate interview that he strongly supports subsidies for farmers and that the lobby will present its own budget request in "less than 20 days."

Mexico's southern Chiapas state is the country's top coffee producer, and also most affected by roya, Barreda said.

Chiapas is home to about 36 percent of Mexico's coffee-farming land, and about 16 percent of the state's farms, or 40,000 hectares, are currently blighted by roya, said Greens lawmaker Narcia, himself a native of the state.

Narcia said about a quarter of Mexico's 700,000 hectares of coffee plantations had been infected by roya.

Government subsidies have been used in other coffee-producing countries in the region such as Colombia, and they help producers to remain competitive, dealers say.

Producers in Colombia, the world's top supplier of washed arabica coffee, lowered their price premium for so-called usual good quality (UGQ) beans to an 11-month low last week as they drew in more business ahead of their biggest crop in six years.

Latin American growers are already suffering from low coffee prices, which are believed to be below the cost of production in several countries. Abundant global supplies have pushed the arabica market to the lowest in more than four years.

The price of the most active arabica futures contract fell last week to $1.1110 per lb, the lowest since April 2009. ($1 = 12.9693 Mexican pesos)

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Related Articles

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

1325 Bushel Grain Cart

Equipped with a 22” computer balanced auger with 5/16” flighting,the unloading speed is 50% faster than smaller grain carts with ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form