Coffee Harvesting Starts in Vietnam After Rains Delay Picking

Coffee farmers in Vietnam, the world’s biggest grower after Brazil, have started harvesting cherries after rains delayed picking by almost a month, local traders said.

“Rains have stopped for a few days, helping farmers to start picking,” said Le Tien Hung, deputy director of Dak Lak-based Sept. 2nd Import-Export Co., Vietnam’s fourth-biggest coffee exporter, said by phone today.

Harvesting should have started at the beginning of this month, Nguyen Van Sinh, deputy head of the agricultural department in Dak Lak, the biggest growing region, said Nov. 3.

“If the weather stays dry as it is now, we will see coffee from this crop hit the market in about two weeks, since farmers need some time to dry the beans,” said Pham Dinh Khai, director of An Giang Coffee Co.’s branch in Buon Ma Thuot, the capital of Dak Lak. About 5 percent to 10 percent of the crop has been picked so far, according to Khai and Hung.

Robusta-coffee futures for January delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,853 a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in London yesterday. Prices have jumped 43 percent this year and an increase in supplies from Vietnam, the world’s biggest robusta grower, may pare gains.

“It’s going to be a bit delayed but by the end of December we should start to see a sufficient amount of coffee to have an effect” on the market, Herve Touraine, executive director of SW Commodities Ltd. in Hong Kong, said by phone today.

Dry and Sunny

Rainfall in Buon Ma Thuot totaled 250.4 millimeters between Nov. 1 and 20, compared with 89.4 millimeters in the same period last year, according to figures yesterday from the Dak Lak Hydrology and Meteorology Office.

Dak Lak province “will have a few dry, sunny days” in the 10-day period through Nov. 30, the weather office said in a report this week. “There might be some rains scattered in the eastern part of the province later in the period,” it said.

Vietnam may produce 1.1 million tons of coffee this year, about 3 percent less than the previous crop, according to an Oct. 29 forecast from Nguyen Van An, a board member of the Vietnam Coffee & Cocoa Association.

A Bloomberg News survey of 10 growers, analysts and traders last month predicted an increase to 1.2 million tons. Officials in Dak Lak, Lam Dong and Gia Lai have all forecast production gains in their regions.

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