Coffee harvesting in Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest grower, will be delayed by as much as two weeks after Typhoon Ketsana brought heavy rains, extending the time the beans need to ripen, producers said.
The gathering of the 2009-2010 crop, which should have started by now, will be held back, said Nguyen Xuan Thai, director at Thang Loi Coffee Co., the biggest grower in Dak Lak, the top growing area. Thai didn’t give precise dates.
Vietnam is the biggest grower of robusta and the delay may boost prices that have lost about 27 percent in London over the past year. Ketsana hit central Vietnam on Sept. 29, causing total damage estimated at VND14 trillion (US$787 million), according to the National Committee for Flood and Storm Control.
Still, damage to the crop “was minor, with only a few hectares” of coffee that were toppled, according to Cao Van Tu, director of Dak Lak-based Ea Pok Coffee Co. “But it will take more time for the beans to get ripe now since it’s been raining too much.”
Rainfall in Buon Ma Thuot, capital of Dak Lak, totaled 263.6 millimeters from Sept. 21 to Sept. 30 compared with 88.6 millimeters in the same period a year earlier, according to figures from the Dak Lak weather office.
The typhoon mostly missed the main coffee-growing provinces as it swept through areas further north, Nguyen Dai Nguong, head of Dak Lak Hydrology and Meteorology Office, said today.
Coffee output from the current harvest may drop 10 to 15 percent compared with the last crop, the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association said on Sept. 4 Output last year may have been 16.5 million to 17 million bags, according to Doan Trieu Nhan, a senior adviser to the group. A bag weighs 60 kilograms.
“Cherries can still be harvested but hardly dried for the moment, which could affect the quality,” said Herve Touraine, executive director of SW Commodities Ltd. in Hong Kong. Coffee is produced from the beans of harvested berries, which have to be dried.