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Brazil State Coffee Crops Escape Flooding, Benefits From Rains

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Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Coffee crops in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, which accounts for about half the country’s production, escaped flooding and are benefiting from rainfall.

Minas Gerais has declared a state of emergency in 53 of its 853 cities, according to information on the state civil defense website. Almost 10,000 people have been displaced and five died because of storms that have triggered mudslides and washed away highways since the end of October, it said.

Rainfall has been positive for coffee crops, Antonio Alves Pereira, an agronomist at crop research state agency Epamig, said today. Precipitation is replenishing soil humidity levels, which were low due to dryness from May through October.

“Rainfall has not damaged any coffee producing areas,” Pereira said in a telephone interview from Vicosa, Brazil. “Also, humidity is helping coffee fruit formation.”

Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee.

A cold front over the states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo and Sao Paulo will drop about 300 millimeters (11.8 inches) of rain in the next six days, Marco Antonio dos Santos, a forecaster for Somar Meteorologia, said in a phone interview from Araras, Brazil.

Coffee harvest in Brazil starts in May. Latin America’s largest economy produced 43.5 million bags last year, the country’s Agriculture Ministry said Dec. 21. The first estimate on this year’s crop will be released Jan. 10.

A bag of coffee weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at lkassai@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Carlos Caminada at ccaminada1@bloomberg.net

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