(Reuters) – Costa Rican coffee exports slid 30% in November compared with the same month last year due in part to continuing fallout from an outbreak of the tree-killing fungus roya (coffee leaf rust), the Costa Rica coffee institute ICAFE said on Monday.
November shipments totaled 15,796 60-kg bags, according to ICAFE data, marking 13 consecutive months of falling exports.
“Farmers, in general, are in a very tough situation due to low productivity per hectare,” ICAFE head Xinia Chaves said, adding that needed investments in plantations have declined.
Coffee exports from Costa Rica, one of Central America’s smaller producers but well-known for its high-quality beans, reached 25,627 bags during the first two months of the current 2019/2020 harvesting season, down more than 40% compared with the same two-month period in the previous 2018/2019 cycle.
In addition to the lingering effects of roya, also known as coffee leaf rust, ICAFE said higher costs and bad weather have also hit production.
The institute, however, sees exports eventually rebounding to reach 1.42 million bags during the 2019/2020 season, which would mark a jump of about 10% compared with the 1.28 million bags shipped during the previous cycle.
The coffee season in Central America and Mexico, which together produce about a fifth of the world’s arabica beans, runs from October through September.