Indonesia’s Coffee Exports Seen Matching 2012 Level on Weather

Coffee exports from Indonesia’s southern Sumatra, the main growing region in the third-largest robusta grower, may be little changed this year amid threats to production from stormy weather, an industry group said.

Shipments from Lampung, Bengkulu and South Sumatra gained 24 percent to 243,807 metric tons last year, according to Mochtar Luthfie, head of research and development at the Lampung chapter of the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industry. Everything this year will depend on the weather, Luthfie said in an interview from Bandar Lampung yesterday.

A lack of export growth may help extend the 7.2 percent gain in robusta in the past year. The three provinces account for about 75 percent of the country’s output. This year’s main harvest may start in May, one month earlier than last year, with some trees in higher-lying areas already producing cherries, said Sumita, head of the association’s Lampung chapter.

“It’s still too early to see output prospects,” Luthfie said. To produce good-quality beans, coffee needs sufficient water during flowering and blossoming and enough sunlight for drying after the harvest, he said.

Stormy weather may occur in most part of Indonesia during the peak rainy season, which may run until mid-February, the Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency said Jan. 16. Some areas of Lampung and Bengkulu will receive as much as 50 millimeters (1.97 inches) to 100 millimeters per day of rain, with strong winds and thunder, in the week to Feb. 4, according to a forecast from the meteorology agency on its website.

The association’s figures for 2012 exports are higher than those from the Lampung trade office, which put shipments at 202,532 tons, Luthfie said. The office may not have fully recorded trade from Bengkulu and South Sumatra, he said.

Robusta for March delivery climbed 1.7 percent to $1,968 a ton on NYSE Liffe yesterday. The beans are used in instant drinks and espressos.

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