Honduran coffee exports jump nearly 44% in November

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) is pictured at its building in Tegucigalpa, Honduras February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran coffee exports rose 43.6% in November on the strength of planned orders from international buyers, most filled with bags from last season’s crop, national coffee institute IHCAFE reported on Monday.

Central America’s top coffee producer and exporter reported shipments of 163,540 60-kg bags for the month, the second of the current 2019/2020 harvesting season.

“November’s export figures are a result of planned contracts and were covered in large part with the remaining beans from last crop... and a small amount from the new crop,” IHCAFE vice president Dagoberto Suazo said.

Honduran exports through the first two months of the 2019/2020 season total 248,520 bags, up about 16% compared with the same two-month period in the 2018/2019 cycle.

IHCAFE forecasts that Honduras will ship 6.58 million bags in the current season, which would mark a 3% fall against the previous cycle’s exports of 6.81 million bags.

Officials attribute the expected fall to lower international market prices and drought hitting some farms, and say depressed prices have forced many small and medium-sized coffee producers to give up on the crop altogether and set out as U.S.-bound migrants instead.

“Many migrate to the United States, paying off smugglers with the little money they have left,” IHCAFE director Mario Rene Palma said.

The coffee season in Central America and Mexico, which together produce about a fifth of the world’s arabica beans, runs from October through September.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Leslie Adler