El Salvador's coffee industry reports $157 million in losses
This country's struggling coffee farmers produced just 2.3 million 100-pound
(46-kilogram) sacks of coffee between October and June, down from the 3.4
million sacks they produced over the same period last year, Ricardo Espitia,
director of Salvador's Coffee Council, said at a Saturday press conference.
The production declines saw El Salvador export just 1.72 million sacks
coffee, valued at $105.85 million -- a decline of almost $263 million from last
year's exportation revenues, Espitia said.
"This year we have had historically low prices and historically low harvests,"
A magnitude-7.6 quake tore through El Salvador Jan. 13, costing the coffee
industry $100 million in lost harvests, Espitia said. Another strong tremor
rocked the region a month later, destroying an unknown number of other
harvests, he said.
The international price of coffee keeps setting record lows, falling this
$90 per sack, Espitia said.
In response to the losses, Salvadoran coffee producers will trim their
production of low-quality coffee by 5 percent. Overproduction of low-quality
coffee in Vietnam and across Southeast Asia may eventually force El Salvador
to abandon the low-priced coffee market altogether, he said.
El Salvador's top export, coffee employees 135,000 people here, a tally
representing one-seventh of this country's workforce.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.