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Brazil to Import Coffee for the First Time in its History

02/21/2017 - 11h21

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TÁSSIA KASTNER
FROM SÃO PAULO

In order to help reduce the financial bitterness of coffee, caused by a shortage in one of the types of coffee produced in Brazil, the government has opened up a window of four months for importation.

It's the first time that Brazil, the world's largest coffee producer, will be purchasing a significant quantity of green coffee beans from competitors, a measure being taken to compensate for the reduction in the local harvest.

With the shortage, the price of soluble (instant) coffee has risen 14,9% in the 12 months through January according to IBGE (Brazilian Economical & Geographical Statistics Institute). Ground coffee has increased by 20% in the same period.

The government has authorized the importation only of robusta coffee, a cheaper and more bitter type, which is generally used in the production of instant coffee. This is the variety that has been most affected by the drought. The imported product should be coming from Vietnam, the largest producer of this type.

The higher-grade type of coffee is arabica, whose production hasn't been affected directly by the shortage of water.

A drought that has hit the State of Espírito Santo primarily, caused the production of robusta to fall by 7,99 million sacks in 2016 - 30% below the level registered the year before. The State is the largest producer of coffee beans in the country.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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