Arabica could be subbed in for Robusta: Rabobank

While ongoing dry weather in many of the world’s key Robusta growing regions is leading to lower yields of the bean, a larger than average crop of low quality Arabica could be used to fill the breach, according to Rabobank’s latest Coffee Outlook report. “Recent strong rains in Brazil Arabica areas will provide availability of lower beverage quality Arabica beans, facilitating the switch from Robustas . . . towards Arabicas,” the report says. Dry weather is affecting Robusta production in four of the major growing areas around the world – Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam and India – with unfavourable conditions also being seen in Thailand and Laos, the report says. This is expected to lead to a Robusta deficit of 4.6 million bags in 2016/17,  and an overall deficit of 2.2 million bags. With the poor outlook for 2016/17 now factored in to international pricing, the focus has shifted to the 2017/18 crop, the report says. “We believe anything above 16 million bags is unlikely, as branch growth has been extremely poor,” the report says. “The defining factor will be the rains during the flowering period. Low rainfall in the past few months means that reservoirs are currently low or empty and, as a result, farmers will not have enough water to artificially induce flowering. Thus, we cannot discard the possibility of an even lower Robusta crop next season.”

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