Kenya’s Coffee Crop Seen Benefiting From Rains Boosting Yields

  • Main crop to be harvested from September to December
  • Nation has targeted output of 100,000 tons within five years

Kenya, Africa’s third-biggest arabica-coffee producer, may get a bumper harvest later this year as rains in key growing areas boost yields.

The country is getting good rains, which will improve yields for the harvest that runs from September through December, Mansukh Shah, managing director of Alanwood Ltd., a Nairobi-based trading house, said by phone on Thursday. Rains have been favorable this year in top-growing areas of Mount Kenya, Machakos and Central Province, and bean size and quality will be good, he said.

“We are expecting a good harvest both for the early crop and the main harvest from September to December,” Kizito Keya, a coffee trader for Mombasa, Kenya-based Mumba Coffee Ltd., said by phone from Nairobi.

While Kenya isn’t a major producer of beans globally, a large harvest would boost supplies at a time when prices are the highest in more than a year. Arabica, the type favored for specialty drinks such as those made by Starbucks Corp., has rallied as low exchange inventories attract investment from funds. Speculators have the biggest bullish bet since 2014, U.S. government data show.

Shah and Keya didn’t give estimates for the harvest size. Grenville Kiplimo Melli, the interim director at Kenya’s Coffee Directorate, also didn’t provide an output forecast for next season, which runs the 12 months though September 2017, when contacted by Bloomberg.

In September, Melli said this season’s output may climb 18 percent to 45,000 metric tons and that the nation is targeting production of as much as 100,000 tons within five years.

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