Brazil Strengthens Position as Top Coffee Producer

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Brazil had its largest coffee harvest ever in 2018—61.7 million bags, equivalent to 3.7 million tonnes—surpassing its previous record for an on-year crop in 2016 by about 20 percent, a report by CONAB shows. The harvest also topped 2017’s off-year crop by 37 percent. Coffee, especially the arabica variety, has alternating years of heavy and light crops.

Arabica is Brazil’s dominant coffee type, and production of this variety was 47.5 million bags, equal to 2.85 million tonnes. Production of the robusta variety, also called conilon, was 14.2 million bags, or 852,000 tonnes. Bountiful flowering, helped by favorable weather, and the expanded use of more productive, cloned varieties, contributed to the bumper crop, according to CONAB, which provides Brazilian subnational agricultural commodities data.

Minas Gerais is Brazil’s largest coffee-producing state. Harvest there totaled 32.97 million bags of arabica (1.978 million tonnes) and 390.3 thousand bags of conilon (23,418 tonnes). Higher output in Minas Gerais was aided by an increase in area planted, especially in the state’s Cerrado and northern regions.

Overall, however, Brazil’s coffee area under production was stable at 1.8 million hectares. Total area under production, and young trees not yet producing, stood at 2.16 million hectares, down 2.2 percent from the previous year, due to a drop in the nonproducing area to 294,100 hectares from 344,800 hectares. Gro Intelligence provides users with regular updates to coffee production data from Brazil and other producing countries.

Brazil far and away tops other coffee producers, followed by Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Honduras (left chart). Coffee production in Brazil in the latest year broke the previous record for an on-year crop (right chart).

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