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Costa Rica Imports Coffee as Rains Cut Crop, Broker Says

Costa Rica, traditionally a producer of coffee, has stepped up bean imports over the past three years to meet local demand as rainfall reduced the country’s output, according to broker Escritorio Carvalhaes.

Coffee output in Costa Rica was below the 1.87 million bags produced in the 2007-08 season in the last three seasons, data on the website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. Production may be lower again this year, with the USDA forecasting a crop of 1.64 million bags. The Central American country’s coffee imports may be 150,000 bags this season, up from 15,000 bags in 2008-09, the department’s data shows.

“In the last three years, with smaller harvests, especially because of weather changes, coffee production in Costa Rica has been insufficient to meet consumption and exports,” the Santos, Brazil-based broker wrote in a report dated April 20. “The solution found by the Central American country was to import.”

Costa Rica has been importing coffee from other nations in the region, especially Mexico and Peru, the broker said. Some of the country’s roasters are currently visiting Brazil, the biggest coffee grower, according to the report. Rains that reduced output in Colombia, the second-biggest producer of arabica beans, have also resulted in imports, the broker said.

Colombia almost tripled purchases of Peruvian coffee to make up for a decline in harvests this year, according to the head of Peru’s main coffee-growing group. The Andean nation bought 99,581 bags through February, almost triple the 36,545 bags a year earlier, making it the second-largest buyer of Peruvian coffee after the U.S., Eduardo Montauban, head of Peru’s Coffee Chamber, said on April 9.

A bag of coffee weighs 60 kilograms or 132 pounds.

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