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Brazil robusta coffee harvest picks up, crop seen positively

SAO PAULO, May 4 (Reuters) - Harvest work in robusta coffee farms in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee grower, is picking up as more fields reach maturity, while market players see the new crop as positive both in terms of size and quality.

Most of Brazil’s and the world’s coffee production is of arabica, a milder type and the choice of coffee chains such as Starbucks. Robusta beans have a stronger taste and are mostly used by the instant coffee industry.

Robusta production has been growing in Brazil in recent years as trees are more resistant to heat and dryness compared to arabica. Brazil is the world’s No. 2 producer of robusta after Vietnam.

“From October until now we had good moisture, the trees are in good shape. All indications point to a better crop than last season,” said Luiz Carlos Bastianello, head of Cooabriel, the largest robusta coffee co-op in Brazil based in Espirito Santo, the number 1 robusta state.

Brazil’s food supply agency Conab sees the robusta crop growing 4.1% this year to nearly 17 million 60-kg bags. Private estimates see a larger number around 20 million bags.

Cooabriel received only around 30,000 bags so far from associated farmers, but it expects to receive a total of 1.8 million bags, 300,000 bags more than in 2021.

Bastianello said that much of the robusta crop will stay in Brazil this year, rather than being exported.

“The local market is paying well,” he said.

Local roasters have increased the share of robusta beans in their blends, trying to escape high arabica prices.

Coffee exporters association Cecafe said in its April report that robusta exports fell 64% year-on-year.

Robusta harvest has also started in Rondonia, the 2o largest producer, where output is seen growing 10% to 2.5 million bags. (Reporting by Roberto Samora, writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by David Gregorio)

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