By Jeffrey T. Lewis
(Dow Jones) -- SAO PAULO--The coffee crop produced by members of Brazil's Minasul coffee cooperative will probably be at least 30% smaller in 2021 than in 2020 because of hotter and drier weather during parts of 2020, according to Josť Marcos Magalh„es, the coop's president.
Mr. Magalh„es said Minasul will provide a forecast for 2021 production at the end of January, and that the figure of 30% is his own estimate, based on what he has seen and heard from local growers.
The average amount of rainfall in the areas where Minasul's members grow coffee was about 200 milliliters less last year than is normal, which has a negative effect on the development of coffee plants, Mr. Magalh„es said.
"Coffee plants can deal with 100 millileters less water, but with 150 millileters less that starts to cause problems and 200 millileters less could be a disaster," he said.
Brazil is the world's biggest grower of coffee, accounting for about one-third of total global production. The country has a two-year coffee growth cycle, producing bigger crops in even-numbered years and then smaller crops in odd-numbered years as the plants "rest." Brazil's total crop fell 20% in 2019 from 2018 to 49.3 million 132-pound bags, then rose to a record 63.1 million bags in 2020.
Minasul has members in many different regions of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil's biggest coffee producer, with the Sul de Minas area the most heavily hit by the lack of rain, Mr. Magalh„es said. The effect of the bad weather on the development of the plants will result in a 2021 crop that's smaller than the 2019 crop, according to Mr. Magalh„es.
Coffee plants also have a two-year cycle for their development, with the branches that grow one year bearing the fruit that produces coffee beans the following year, so the bad weather in 2020 will also hit the 2022 crop.
"That's two years that can't be fixed," said Mr. Magalh„es.
Minasul's members delivered about 2 million bags of coffee to the coop to sell for them in 2020, compared with 1.5 million in 2019, he said.
« Back to index