Fundação Procafé unveiled yesterday the much awaited results of the field survey and estimate led in January and February in the main areas of the coffee belt.
The survey was commissioned by Brazil’s National Coffee Council (CNC). Fundação Procafé is a coffee research foundation based in Varginha, Minas Gerais.
According to the study Brazil will produce in the 2015/16 coffee season 40.3-43.25 million 60-kg bag, or a drop of between 4.6 and 11.1 percent from last year’s harvest of 45.34 million bags.
Arabica output is forecast between 30 and 32.15 million bags, almost in line with last year’s harvest of 32.31 million bags, if we consider the higher end of the forecast range.
On the other hand, the Robusta (conillon) crop is expected to fall sharply from last year’s 13 million bags to between 10.3 million to 11.1 million bags, down as much as 21 percent, if we consider the lower end of the forecast.
The foundation was particularly downbeat on prospects for Espirito Santo, the top state for producing Robusta beans, for which it forecast output of 10.0-10.8 million bags, down at least 15.7% year on year, and below the Conab estimate of 11.41-12.09 million bags.
“The drought of 2014 hurt the 2015 harvest more than the 2014 harvest,” Procafe agronomist Jose Braz Matiello said. “2016 should see a small recovery. We could see a 4-to-5 million bag increase to 46-47 million.”
Below-average rainfall since early last year, accompanied by high temperatures, affected vegetation growth, blossoming, flower setting and bean development “impacting directly” on bean size and yield, and affecting revenues for producers, who “require a greater number of beans to fill a sack”, according to Procafé.
The Foundation cautioned that the pick-up in rainfall in Brazilian coffee producing had been patchy, and even where they had arrived, had come too late to reverse damage from drought.
Procafé’s forecasts tends always to be on the lower end of all estimates.
In its preliminary estimate for 2015/16, Brazil’s crop supply agency Conab, which itself tends to be conservative, forecast in January that the new coffee crop would yield between 44.1 million and 46.6 million bags.
For the record, it should also be remembered that Fundação Procafé pegged the 2014/15 crop in April 2014 as low as 40.1 to 43.3 million bags, far below Conab’s final estimate.