Drought and frost have wreaked havoc on Brazil's coffee crop

Drought and frost have wreaked havoc on Brazil's coffee crop
Drought and frost have wreaked havoc on Brazil's coffee crop

Recently, coffee prices have remained at about the same level, but this is not for long due to a serious disruption in the global coffee supply. Brazil, the world's largest coffee exporter, has been hit by unprecedented extreme weather conditions that have severely damaged the coffee harvest - which will ultimately drive the value of coffee around the world higher.

At the end of July, unprecedentedly low temperatures were established in the south of Brazil. Snow covered many of the hillsides. In regions where coffee is grown, the fields are covered with hoarfrost. In one video circulated on the Internet, a farm worker examines coffee plants affected by frost in the state of Minas Gerais. The leaves are dead and brown. The coffee beans are black and icy.

“We have lost 80% of our coffee harvest on this site,” says coffee farmer Flavio Figueiredo. "In this region, I think 30 to 40% of the coffee plants are damaged."

Coffee growers estimate that nearly half a million acres of coffee have been affected by the frost. It was the worst frost in Brazil in the past 27 years.

“This is a really tough year,” said Celirio Inacio, head of the Brazilian Association of Coffee Producers. "We haven't seen anything like this in a long time."

Brazilian coffee crops have suffered more than just frost damage. They also suffered from drought earlier in the year.

Industry officials fear that climate change will lead to an increase in extreme weather events like these, making coffee production increasingly unpredictable.

"We have to think about it. It's really before our eyes, it can't be ignored."

"The two leading coffee producing countries are Vietnam and Brazil, and if any weather or supply problems arise in either of these two countries, it will affect the entire global market. We have seen this in the 90s and now."

In July, the price of the coffee market jumped to a seven-year high. Now the price of coffee futures is around $ 1.93 a pound, which is 50% higher than at the beginning of the year.

Ferreira-Mathus says you may not see the prices rise at the local coffee shop just yet. Currently, the coffee in circulation was harvested when prices were low. But this will not last long.

"I really think that we will soon see a very significant price change in cafes due to the pandemic and supply shortages from Brazil."

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