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April 26, 2011

Burundi coffee earnings nearly double in March

Burundi's coffee earnings leapt 90 percent in March from a month earlier, as the 2010/11 marketing season drew to a close, the industry regulator said on April 11.

The country's regulator (ARFIC) said the sector collected $7.4 million from the sale of 2.1 million kgs, up from $3.9 million earned in February from the sale of 951,420 kg.

"The beans sold in March were the last ones for the 2010/11 crop. Traders bought everything, even the coffee lots ... of low quality," said a report by ARFIC. "This is why the revenues obtained in March are higher."

The average price per kg fell to $3.50 in March, from $4.14 in February. The coffee regulator attributed the drop to the quality of some beans put on sale.

The latest estimates show the 2010/11 coffee output should fall by 29 percent to 24,000 tonnes, after a disease attacked the commodity in two main growing areas.

Regulator ARFIC had projected production of green coffee would reach 31,000 tonnes this year. The revised figure is, however, still higher than the 6,381 tonnes in 2009/10.

Coffee is Burundi's top hard currency earner and supports some 800,000 smallholder farmers in the landlocked nation of eight million people.


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