Peru coffee exports decrease by 20 percent; Quinoa exports increase

Peruvian coffee exports declined by about 20 percent in 2009, despite a strong demand abroad for the country’s prime agroexport. The value of coffee exports totaled $520 million last year, down from $640 million in 2008, reported the National Coffee Board.

The drop in exports was due to a decline in productivity by Peru’s coffee plantations leading to smaller harvests, says César Rivas, the president of the National Coffee Board. “We had a larger demand than our supply, to replace Colombian coffee” says Rivas, “but unfortunately we could not meet the demand due to a fall in productivity by our coffee plantations.”

Rivas expects coffee production to increase in 2010 due to a $20 million investment agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrobanco to update unproductive plantations.

Peru is the third largest coffee exporter in Latin America, behind Brazil and Colombia. Peruvian coffee was exported to 45 countries last year, including the United States, Germany, Belgium and Colombia. Coffee exports account for two percent of both Peru’s national economy and the global coffee supply.

Other agricultural exports increased in 2009. Exports of quinoa – a grain-like seed crop native to the Andean region – totaled $5.7 million between January and October 2009, a 78 percent increase over the same period in 2008, reported daily Los Andes. The United States is the largest importer, accounting for 45 percent of Peru’s quinoa exports, followed by Israel, Germany and Ecuador.

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