Peru Coffee Output May Gain 20% on Higher-Yield Crop

Coffee output in Peru, the third-largest producer in South America, may rise 20 percent next year as trees enter the higher-yielding cycle of the biennial crop, an industry group said.

“Production may increase to 4.56 million bags from 3.8 million estimated for this year,” Eduardo Montauban, the head of Peru’s Coffee and Cocoa Chamber, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Lima. In 2011, output rose to a record 5 million bags, he said.

Coffee-export income in 2012 may drop to $950 million from the all-time high of $1.578 billion last year, Montauban said. Germany is the biggest buyer, followed by the U.S., Belgium and Colombia, he said.

Peruvian farmers typically collect the bulk of the harvest from March through September. A bag weighs 60 kilograms, or 132 pounds. Brazil is the world’s top producer, and Colombia is the second-biggest South American grower, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization.

This week, Peru started an agricultural census, the first since 1994, Montauban said. That may determine the size of the coffee crop and the number of farmers.

“This could help the sector secure funds to increase productivity and the quality of beans” amid efforts to expand exports in Asia, Montauban said. He is an agent/broker for the local representative of Pully, Switzerland-based Ecom Agroindustrial Corp., one of the largest coffee traders.

Arabica coffee for December delivery declined 0.8 percent to $1.615 a pound yesterday on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. This year, the price has tumbled 29 percent, the most among the 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, partly because roasters are using more of the cheaper robusta beans.

(Eduardo Montauban corrects his relationship with Ecom Agroindustrial in the sixth paragraph.)
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