As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we're delighted to share the latest updates from Honduras, the second installment in our three-part series covering the origins we work with—Colombia, Honduras, and Peru.
1. Harvest Status
The current harvest season in Honduras varies across different altitudes. In the low zone (600-900 masl), harvesting has already concluded, spanning from late October 2023 to mid-January 2024. The middle zone (901-1200 masl) is witnessing grains in the pinto to mature stage, with an estimated progress of 60-70%. The high zone (>1200 masl) is set to commence harvesting from January to April 2024, with approximately 30% of the harvest already completed.
However, a significant decrease in production is expected compared to the previous harvest. The Eastern zone faces a 50% reduction, while other zones experience a reduction ranging from 30 to 40%. This decline is attributed to high rust rates, low nutrition in coffee plantations, and the impact of weather conditions, especially in the low zone.
Incidence of Rust:
Rust incidence in Honduras is at a medium level (8.53% by the end of November). SATIHCAFE has declared a Risk Level 4 and a Yellow Alert for Coffee Rust at the national level. The average incidence is projected to increase by the end of January, maintaining or surpassing the national average. Agronomic practices are crucial at this point to manage rust effectively.
Labor shortages and weather conditions are causing difficulties in harvesting. The incidence of Coffee Berry Borer (CBB), called broca in Spanish, is expected to increase by 3% in secondary damage to parchment. The project cooperatives are working to mitigate cup damage by having members dry their coffee before delivery.
2. Coffee Quality
In the low zone, quality is intermediate, while the medium and high zones (specialty coffee and micro lots) exhibit good quality. Overall, coffee quality is good, with approximately 5% CBB attack, more prevalent in the low and medium zones. The processing, fertilization, and phytosanitary management practices play a significant role in determining coffee quality.
3. What is Being Worked On
As part of the Aromas Café y Miel Honduras project, we prioritize the Innovation Laboratories approach, providing comprehensive training on key aspects such as soil sampling, diagnostics for borer and rust, wet processing, organic nutrition, and effective post-harvest processes. Technical assistance and follow-up visits ensure the implementation of these practices.
We are currently advancing the construction of a state-of-the-art dry mill. This initiative is set to enhance the overall quality of processed coffee, ensuring transparency, traceability, and a reduced environmental footprint. The emphasis is on maintaining high equipment standards, operational efficiency, and minimizing energy consumption throughout the coffee processing journey.
The climate in the lower and middle zones affected flowering in 2023 due to a longer-than-usual summer and excessive rainfall. This led to increased rust presence. Conversely, the highlands, characterized by consistent rainfall, experienced a positive fruit set.
This information is compiled from SOCODEVI technicians, cooperative members, export company buyers, and direct conversations with producers.
Stay tuned for our next newsletter covering the latest updates from Peru.
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