SAN SALVADOR Oct 31 El Salvador on Monday cut
its forecast for growth this year to 1.4 percent from 2.1
percent due to heavy rains that damaged coffee crops in the
Central American exporter.
Strong storms hit southern Mexico, Salvador and the rest
of Central America for nearly two weeks earlier this month,
killing around 130 people and displacing thousands. Central
America together with Mexico grows more than one-fifth of the
world's arabica coffee.
The rains took a $150 million toll on the country in terms
of damage to housing, roads and agriculture, said Alex Segovia
from the president's office.
"The biggest impact is on agriculture," he told reporters
at a press conference on Monday.
Procafe, the country's coffee association, cut its
estimate for coffee production in 2011/12 crop to 1.33 million
bags (60-kg bags) earlier this month, from the previous 1.41
million bags due to rain damage.
The new forecast would represent a drop of almost 31
percent to 1.92 million bags produced in the 2010/11 crop,
which ended in September.
The region is struggling to rebuild ruined infrastructure
ahead of peak harvesting season at the end of the year.