Honduras to drive production rebound in Central America

Honduras’s rust-resistant trees from recently renovated land will propel 2014-15 crop output from Central America to 16.7 million 60-kilogram bags, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In its annual report, the USDA says it is expecting an increase of 750,000 bags from the region, a record 5.9 million of which will come from Honduras. Nicaragua’s production is forecast 5 per cent higher at 2.2 million bags, while Guatemala and El Salvador are expected to remain the same at 3.2 million bags and 750,000 bags, as these countries struggle with coffee leaf rust. The USDA says the impact of coffee leaf rust was lessened in Honduras thanks to the widespread use of IHCAFE 90, Lempira and Parainema, which are rust resistant coffee varieties. The report says that about 20,000 of Honduras’s 113,000 producing families did not have leaf rust resistant varieties, and saw a 50 per cent decrease in production. In conjunction with TechnoServe, the USDA has been working with producers in Honduras to enhance productivity, improve market linkages and provide access to funding since 2012. The USDA says that because the types of varieties that produce specialty coffee are not resistant to coffee rust, producers are increasingly engaging with them to learn to run their farms with good agricultural practices, in order to meet customers’ cupping expectations. Honduras, which ranks sixth globally in terms of export volume, is expected to drive an increase of 600,000 bags to 13.6 million bags in exports from the region, approximately 40 per cent of which is destined for the United States. The USDA has revised its world production estimate to 146.3 million bags, down 3.5 million bags from its December prediction. This image of Honduran coffee families was provided to GCR Magazine by Mayra Orellana-Powell, Founder of Catratcha Coffee Company.

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