MILAN – The production and export of coffee in Ecuador continues its drastic decline, states USDA’s Foreigh Agricultural Service in its latest Gain Report. Since 2013, coffee bean exports have decreased by 88 percent and soluble coffee exports have decreased by 50 percent.
A low field productivity, 80 percent less than in other Latin American countries, and high processing costs have made Ecuador less competitive compared to neighboring countries.
Coffee production for marketing year (MY) 2020/21 (April / March) is forecast at 255,000 bags (60 kilograms each) of Green Bean Equivalent (GBE) basis, reducing the FAS Quito 2019/2020 estimate by five percent.
Productivity per hectare is increasing, resulting in an average 16 percent increase in national production, due to government efforts to renew and rejuvenate plantations and improve field management. However, overall planted area continues to decrease.
The increased production is made up of mainly Arabica coffee. The prices obtained by producers of both Arabica and Robusta continue to trend downward.
The exception is specialty Arabica coffees for which prices have doubled by 100% (U.S. $200 per 60 kilogram bag) compared to that sold in bulk. Consumption in Ecuador is forecast at 240,000 GBE bags in MY 2020/21, down from the previous year estimate.
This is due to the reduction in consumption caused by COVID-19. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ecuadorians had, in general, increased their consumption. Ecuadorian coffee exports for MY 2020/21 are forecast at 500,000 GBE bags, up 10 percent from the MY 2019/20 estimate, reports USDA.
Industrialized coffee exports are on the rise, and coffee beans now represent only 5% of total coffee exports.
The forecast for coffee imports during in MY 2020/21 is 300,000 bags, a reduction of 141,000 bags from the MY 2019/20 estimate of 441,000 bags. This reduction is due to the loss of competitiveness of the Ecuadorian industry to Brazil.