Already the world’s leading producer of arabica, is Brazil about to overtake Vietnam, the world leader for robusta? According to specialists, it is only a matter of years. This Brazilian offensive is due to two factors: the fall of the Brazilian real making its coffee much more competitive and, above all, the 75% increase in its robusta production in 2019/2020 compared with 2018. This impressive increase in Brazil’s production was driven by producers using new technologies and planting more productive plants or better-tasting species, while the Vietnamese coffee trees are ageing. But Brazil is not Vietnam’s only competitor. Indonesia, the third biggest producer of robusta is also joining the race. It aims to increase its production by over 50% in five years thanks to better use of fertilisers and improved seed quality. But that is not the end of the coffee saga. Robusta also risks overtaking arabica, the most noble variety of coffee. The former is easier to produce and much cheaper. It also resists better against disease and cold snaps. What is more, Asian consumers apparently particularly enjoy its taste. High-quality arabica only grows well at altitudes above 1,000 metres, making it more complicated to process and transport. This unbridled overproduction of robusta has caused its price to plummet to what it was ten years ago.
Source : Les Echos