80% of Ecuador’s Coffee Plants To Be Replaced By Growers
In an effort to increase productivity, Ecuador plans to replace more than 80% of its coffee crop over the next eight years with plant varieties resistant to diseases, such as the roya fungus.
In 1990, Ecuador was a coffee producing powerhouse with an annual yield of about two million 60-kilogram bags of coffee. But the last two decades have brought real challenges for growers. Last year Ecuador produced only about 630,000 bags of coffee. 2013 is expected to be even worse, as no more than 400,000 bags are expected to be produced, according to official estimates.
But the Agriculture Ministry of Ecuador is stepping in to give farmers a helping hand. Javier Villacis, a spokesman for the Ministry, said Wednesday that the government anticipates spending as much as $120 million to assist in replacing plants and to provide technology, support and other services to growers. The goal is to return Ecuador to the ranks of the world’s premier coffee producers, as it was two decades ago.
Coffee growers have said their productivity has been significantly curtailed by aging plants, diseases and climate change, among others factors. Currently, Ecuador has about 200,000 hectares of productive coffee crop, of which a 42% have been affected by the roya fungus.
The renovation plan includes 105,000 hectares of Arabica and 60,000 hectares of robusta coffee.
In August, Ecuador’s coffee exports were down about 37 percent from July, according to data from the Ecuador’s Association of Coffee Exporters, known as Anecafe.