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Costa Rican coffee harvest expected to improve

Costa Rica is one of the many locations that we at DR Wakefield source our quality green coffee beans from and according to a new report, the country's harvest could be set to increase significantly in terms of yield this year.

Here, we're going to explore what this could mean for coffee farmers in the region, as well as at the factors that have affected this predicted growth.

Higher yields predicted

The harvest period in Costa Rica typically falls between November and March and, according to figures from the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE), yields could increase by around seven per cent during the upcoming season.

ICAFE believes the 2014-15 harvest will be significantly better than last year, partly due to improved agricultural practices within the country. In addition, measures have been taken to combat coffee rust fungus, which can be seriously harmful to crops, while rainfall levels have been lower.

The report explained: "Farmers had better management of their plantation in 2013 and at the start of 2014. They did a better job fertilising and using mechanisms to prevent diseases, especially rust."

In light of this, it is thought 2.1 million bushels (46 kilogram sacks of coffee beans) will be harvested this winter, which is a significant increase on the 1.9 million produced last year.

While coffee may come in behind pineapples and bananas as Costa Rica's third most important exported product, in 2012 beans shipped abroad reached a total value of $412.2 million (£242.5 million), with the figure dipping to $301.9 million in 2013 – a decrease of 26.7 per cent – due to coffee rust and weather issues.

Although ICAFE cannot predict exactly how much green coffee exports will come in at for the upcoming harvest season, with the expected increase in yield, things are so far looking positive for those working in the country's coffee industry.

What does this mean for Costa Rica?

Costa Rican coffee is considered to be among the very best on the planet, although high production costs have made growth difficult for some farmers of the beans in the past.

However, with a successful harvest, being able to export greater amounts of produce could have a positive effect on growers, potentially leading to an increased income and improved conditions.

Despite this, environmental issues such as climate change and the threat of agricultural diseases like coffee rust could ruin thousands of crops, meaning the future of coffee harvests in Costa Rica – like elsewhere in the world – remains unpredictable.

Here at DR Wakefield, we work closely with exporters in Costa Rica to ensure we are sourcing the best quality beans for our roasters at the best price, which is an issue we feel incredibly passionate about.