At the time when Arabica prices are on a high due in large part to the reduction in supply from Brazil – the worlds largest supplier of Arabica beans, Guatemala is unable to grasp the opportunity. The country, which is the worlds sixth-largest producer of Arabica coffee looks set to see a supply constraint themselves, estimated to be in the region of 3%
Reports are of low farmgate prices over the last six years causing farmers to become disaffected and abandon their farms. Workers are in short supply too, and even the weather has conspired against the remaining farmers.
Local association Anacafe says climate change is to blame for the erratic rainfall which has negatively impacted the harvest. Of course, you may remember the two hurricanes which hit the region last year which impacted over 200,000 in Guatemala.
Guatemala is not a huge consumer of the coffee it grows, and Anacafe estimates that Guatemala will export 3.1 million 60kg bags in the 12 months to September, against 3.2 million in the previous season.
Up to 1 million people are in some way related to the coffee industry in the country. With other Central American regions like Honduras also suffering and losing ground on production, these are worrying signals for the speciality coffee industry – just as demand for high-quality Arabica is picking up.