August 8, 2019 / 5:42 PM / 13 days ago

Brazil's 2019 coffee harvest nearing end, says analyst

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian coffee farmers have harvested 93% of expected production in 2019, as field work continues at a quicker pace than seen in the past, agribusiness consultancy Safras & Mercado said in a report on Thursday.

Harvest at this time last year had reached 88% of the fields while the five-year average for the period is 84%, Safras said, adding that most farms in the world’s largest producer have already finished collecting their beans.

“There is only some sweeping to be done, but some producers are giving up on that saying labor costs are high and will not pay off considering current coffee prices,” said Gil Barabach, Safras analyst, referring to the work done after the regular picking of coffee in trees.

Farmers normally collect beans that fall from the trees to the soil. While it is a lower quality coffee, it has its market. But that work needs people, differently from the regular harvest that is mostly done by machines. As manual labor is costly, sometimes it is not financially feasible.

Safras projects Brazil’s 2019 crop at 58.9 million 60-kg bags, estimating farmers already collected 54.95 million bags.

Barabach said producers continue to complain about quality, saying that the erratic weather led to several flowerings and caused fruits to ripe in different stages.

Traders have reported worries about supplies of high-quality coffee from Brazil, as Reuters reported last month.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Alistair Bell

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