OT Colombia, Brazil plan to limit coffee output to boost prices

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Colombia, Brazil plan to limit coffee output to boost prices

SALVADOR, Brazil (March 15, 2000 7:32 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com)

The world's two largest coffee producers plan to withhold about six million bags of their upcoming harvests in an effort to bolster coffee prices, a top Brazilian official said Wednesday.

Brazil and Colombia - the world's two largest coffee growers - are among a handful of key producing nations that want to voluntarily limit coffee supply to reverse the trend of falling prices.

"The important thing is, we need to support coffee prices in order to remunerate producers' investments and guarantee future supply," said Paulo Cesar Samico, of Brazil's Agriculture Ministry's Food Supply Department.

Despite an expected reduction in Brazil's and Colombia's 2000-2001 production, Samico said prices had fallen an average of 10 to 15 percent since January, "mainly because of pressure from Mexican supply."

Coffee future prices on the New York Board of Trade on Wednesday stood at $1.03 a pound.

Representatives from Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico and the Ivory Coast will work out the details of the plan in the next few weeks, Samico said at a coffee conference in Salvador, about 740 miles northeast of Rio.

The plan should go into operation at the end of April or beginning of May, with the start of Brazil's robust coffee harvest, which could reach a record 7 million 132-pound bags, considerably higher than the previous season's 4.4 million bags.

Brazil is the world's largest exporter and producer, harvesting an estimated 27.2 million bags for the 1999-2000 period, down from 34.6 million in the previous year. The 2000-2001 harvest has been estimated at nearly 29 million bags.

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 15, 2000



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