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The rains deepen the coffee crisis in El Salvador

The rains that were generated in 2020 by tropical storm Cristóbal and by hurricanes Amanda, Eta and Iota further deepened the crisis in which the coffee sector of El Salvador is already found, said the president of the Coffee Association of El Salvador, Omar Flowers.

Cristóbal and Amanda impacted El Salvador more strongly between May and June 2020, compared to Eta and Iota. However, the abundant humidity in the coffee plantations led to considerable losses, Flores said.

Added to this is the effects generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which mainly caused a drop in exports of gold grain – which was for many years the most profitable item in the country – due to the closure suffered by land borders and maritime in much of the world.

Destinations: Omar Flores, president of the Coffee Association said that the main markets for Salvadoran coffee are: USA, Germany and Italy.

The importance

The coffee grower told Efe that most of the country’s infrastructure “was built as a result of the taxes and foreign exchange from the coffee.”

For example, Flores pointed out, the National Theater, located in the heart of San Salvador, some hydroelectric plants and some important roads in the country were built with money generated by the export of coffee.

“The sector has deteriorated, the best harvest in the country was in the period 1992-1993 with 4 million quintals (…) the territorial area of ​​the forest was around 234,000 acres of coffee and now it is around 150,000 acres “he explained.

He pointed out that the deterioration in the sector is also “the product of not having existed in the last 30 years the governments’ coffee policies, there is a decrease in everything and it is basically due to the lack of financing to renew (the) coffee plantations” .

“There was a production of 1.7 million quintals, rust comes and leads us to lower production by 60% … and the crisis deepens even more with the fall in international prices.”

Omar Flores, president of the Coffee Association

Flores indicated that the crisis also worsened in 2013 due to the effects caused by the rust phenomenon.

“Before the rust, there was a production of 1.7 million quintals, rust comes and leads us to lower production to about 700,000 quintals, a 60% decrease approximately, and the crisis deepens even more with the fall of international prices and the debts of coffee growers, “he said.

The president of the Coffee Association assured that betting on the country’s coffee forest would bring benefits to the entire population. This, because “it is through this that the water reaches all the populations and as this forest is lost, less water is reaching the subsoil”.


“The storms Amanda, Cristóbal, Eta and Iota deepen the crisis further, in the sense that the damage that there is in the coffee plantations due to the storms causes the loss of approximately 150,000 quintals of coffee and also promotes the advance of the rust due to the humidity situation, “commented Flores.

According to data from the Salvadoran Coffee Council (CSC) for the 2019-2020 harvest, the production was 740,100 quintals.

Price. For the 2019/2020 coffee year, prices were around $ 155 per quintal; in the previous period they were $ 139.14, according to data from the CSC.

The Coffee Association estimates that this 2020-2021 exercise will be a harvest of 650,000 quintals.

Regarding exports, in the 2019-2020 period $ 86.9 million were exported, about $ 17.5 million less than in the 2018-2019 exercise when they reached $ 104.4 million dollars.

Flores also considers it necessary to encourage the use of technology in the sector for research and for the creation of new varieties of coffee that resist the effects of climate change.

“The country lacks technology. From an institution that directs where coffee has to go, doing genetic research on coffee, which for El Salvador must guarantee that it is resistant to diseases, climate change, but is high quality, “he said.

He assured that “by renewing with new varieties of coffee, resistant to climate change and disease, there will be high production and quality varieties.”


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