Central America floods - Guatemala/El Salvador update
We have just been sent some photos of the damage caused in Guatemala by weeks of heavy rain, as a series of tropical storms batter Central America. Meanwhile El Salvador is forecasting losses of between 7 and 20% of its national coffee production in 2011/12.
According to the Red Cross, in Guatemala more than 470,000 people have been affected, 11,000 homes have been damaged and some 23,000 people have been evacuated. We have no official data on coffee losses - but it is likely that production will be affected.
Some good news though - we recently spoke to Fabio Solis, owner of Las Nubes (near Guatemala’s border with El Salvador), who told us that thankfully both him and Sonia are fine, and that he expects his coming crop to be unaffected as the cherries are currently still very green and hard (and so survived the downpour). However, Fabio said that his area is facing major infrastructure problems, with many bridges and roads badly damaged by the rains.
El Salvador has also been badly hit - with upwards of one million people affected. Among these are coffee producers; El Salvador's Ministry of Agriculture is forecasting that damage from the rains will cause losses of between 100,000 and up to as much as 283,000 bags of coffee. “In coffee, losses from cherries that have fallen to the ground are estimated at 46,000 quintals (35,267 bags) and the total damage in coffee is expected to be between 7 percent and 20 percent of the national production,” the ministry said in a report. (Thank you to Maja Wallengren, an independent analyst for CoffeeNetwork, for sending us this information).
We spoke to Ernesto Menendez (Finca La Illusión, Los Andes, Alaska) earlier this week who told us that lower-altitude farms have been worst hit - even though higher farms received a lot of rain, this drained off more easily (down to the lower farms) and so the damage was not as bad. This information came from Ernesto’s farm managers - Ernesto himself hasn’t been able to access his farms for over 10 days as the roads are blocked. He has promised us another update and some photos when he manages to get up to his farms..
Thank you to Christian, from our Guatemala office, for sending us the below photos...