Burundi coffee earnings fall in November: regulator

Reuters
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Coffee beans are seen at a Nairobi Java House outlet in Nairobi January 21, 2012. REUTERS/Noor Khami …

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi's export earnings plummeted 62 percent in November from the previous month due to weaker prices and demand on the global market, the industry regulator said on Thursday.

The tiny east African nation earned $3.3 million after selling 1,585,493 kg, sharply down from $8.6 million it collected in October from the export of 1,969,854 kg.

"The demand for the commodity was lower as most buyers have started their holiday season's leave," regulator ARFIC said in its monthly report.

"This affected global as well as domestic prices."

Poor revenues recorded in November follow reports that coffee growers in most areas of the country began to pull up coffee trees, replacing them with other crops such as bananas and fruits, complaining about the volatility of coffee prices and lack of fertilisers.

Authorities warned growers who are pulling up their crops that severe sanctions will be taken against them.

Authorities have also launched a media campaign to sensitise farmers to properly maintain their coffee, in order to produce good quality beans and have in return better prices.

Revenues from coffee, Burundi's top hard currency earner, reached $66.3 million in the 2012/13 crop year up from $61.2 million in the 2011/12 season.

Regulator ARFIC forecasts earnings would sharply fall in the 2013/14 harvest as production is seen falling by almost half to 13,000 tonnes from 24,000 tonnes in the 2012/13 coffee year.

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