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Brazil May Become World’s Biggest Coffee Consumer in Three Years

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer, may become the biggest consumer in two to three years, according to Marcos Pinta Gama, the country’s permanent representative to international organizations in London.

Brazil consumed 18.9 million bags of coffee in 2010, up 4 percent from a year earlier, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization. That compares with 21.8 million bags used in the U.S., the biggest consumer and an increase of 1.6 percent, ICO data show.

“The perspective for coffee demand is to keep increasing, especially in emerging markets,” Gama said in an interview at the ICO yesterday. “There are also perspectives for demand to rise in producing countries like Brazil.”

Coffee consumption has started to rise in some areas of Africa, where tea dominates, according to Gama. Consumption in China is also on the rise, he said. “The new middle class in China has started to drink coffee as it adopts some western habits,” Gama said. “The country is not yet part of ICO, but we see the private sector moving there.”

Brazil welcomes increasing sustainability actions in coffee markets, Gama said. “Producers need to get adequate returns to fight poverty and increase productivity in the context of rising demand and limited stocks,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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