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Rainfall Boosts Vietnam Coffee Crop Before Harvest This Month, Growers Say

Rains in the center of Vietnam, the world’s biggest coffee producer after Brazil, are helping crop development before the start of the harvest, said a grower group.

“We’ve had more rains for a few days now and that’s helped the crop a lot as trees are in need of water,” said Nguyen Xuan Thai, director at Thang Loi Coffee Co., the largest grower, by telephone today. The central part of the country is the biggest growing region.

An improved crop from Vietnam, top supplier of the robusta variety used in espresso and instant drinks, may help push down London prices which have increased 26 percent this year, raising costs for manufacturers. Robusta for November delivery was little changed at $1,625 per metric ton today.

Rainfall in Buon Ma Thuot, capital of Dak Lak, the largest producing province, totaled 297.1 millimeters in September, up from 178.3 millimeters in August, according to the Dak Lak Hydrology and Meteorology Office in the central highlands.

“The rains, which came a bit late this year, have eased dry conditions and increased water levels in reservoirs for agricultural production,” said Nguyen Dai Nguong, director of the weather office.

The province of Dak Lak may have more rain in the first 10 days of October “with an average level slightly higher than at the same time in previous years,” the office said on Oct. 1. Growers had been concerned that dry weather would reduce the size of beans and affect production, according to Ton Nu Tuan Nam, deputy head of the Institute for Coffee Studies in Dak Lak.

Good Rains

“It’s very good that we’ve had rains these days, easing our concerns about a shortage of water for the development of the trees and the fruit,” said Cao Van Tu, director of Dak Lak- based Ea Pok Coffee Co., a grower and exporter. “Weather is our biggest concern since the harvest will be in couple of weeks.”

Production from Dak Lak province may increase 5.3 percent after good weather aided flowering, according to the local government on Sept. 21. The harvest may climb to 400,000 tons in the year from Oct. 1 from 380,000 tons in the prior season, said Nguyen Van Sinh, deputy director of the provincial department for agriculture and rural development. Dak Lak has about 180,000 hectares of coffee, out of Vietnam’s total of 500,000 hectares.

The Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association, known as Vicofa, is conducting a field survey to assess the crop, according to Chairman Luong Van Tu. Vietnam may produce 20 million bags of robusta in 2010-2011, a gain of about 8 percent, according to ABN Amro and VM Group in a report e-mailed Aug. 31. A bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds). The increase may contribute to a global robusta surplus of 3.61 million bags in 2010-2011 from the 2.98 million bags forecast in May, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi at uyen1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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