Honduran coffee exports dip in July on labor shortage

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran coffee exports fell 1.5 percent in July from the same month last year, hurt by poor weather and a labor shortage, an industry executive said on Wednesday.

Shipments from Central America’s largest coffee exporter totaled 759,885 60-kg bags in July, compared with 771,454 bags in the same month last year, according to a preliminary report from the national coffee institute, IHCAFE.

“The exports are in line with expectations, due to the problems we saw in the early months of the harvest with weather and a lack of labor,” said Miguel Pon, head of the country’s coffee exporters association, ADECAFEH.

Coffee exports in the 2017-2018 harvest through July totalled 6.5 million bags, down 1.67 percent from the 2016-2017 harvest, according to IHCAFE.

Honduras forecasts exports of between 7.28 and 7.36 million bags for the 2017-2018 harvest, down from the 7.7 million bags predicted at the beginning of the harvest.

Like its Central American neighbors and Mexico, Honduras is recovering from an outbreak of the of the tree-killing roya fungus that struck the region four years ago, hitting exports.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Julia Love; Editing by Sandra Maler