Western and Central Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Coffee production, as most if not all agriculture, is
weather dependent. Drought reduces output - excessive rainfall may
do the same, depending on the severity and the time of year it
occurs. However, www.thecoffeeguide.org
deals with the trade in green coffee and matters related thereto,
for example quality, but not with the growing of coffee as such.
This is deliberate because agronomy and research are huge subjects
that are not within our expertise.
Nevertheless, shifts in crop patterns impact on prices and so
also impact on the trade in green coffee. As such it is of interest
to provide a minor introduction to the El Niño phenomenon and, more
importantly, to indicate where interested parties may try to learn
The El Niño phenomenon is the result of periodic warming
of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurring on
average every two to five years. It typically lasts about
12 months. and, depending on intensity, may cause major shifts in
weather patterns, ranging from severe drought in some areas to
heavy rainfall elsewhere. *
The most intense recent experience was in 1997/1998 - the
National Drought Mitigation Center in the US (www.drought.unl.edu/index.htm)
summarized some of the effects and spread as follows (as of
Drought in southern Peru and Ecuador
Amazonian region: Severe drought, falling river levels, forest
Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia: Severe drought, delayed
rains, forest fires
Philippines: Severe drought in nearly half the country
North and West Africa: interrupted rainfall, cereal deficits
Tanzania: Drought, reduced dam levels, especially in the
Kenya: Flood losses in northern and coastal areas
Uganda, parts of Southern Ethiopia: Heavy rains,
Southern Africa: Drought conditions, irregular rains
Madagascar: Drought in southern coastal region
The same overview quotes the potential El Niño impact on coffee
in unspecified areas as depending on drought in Asia and excess
rainfall in parts of Brazil.
NB: See for example also http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/w7303e/w7303e00.htm
for more on the impact on individual coffee producing countries.
There is a host of similar information available on the Internet as
any simple search under the heading El Niño will demonstrate.
Individual readers will however have to make their own selection as
to where to direct their interest.
The US National Weather Prediction Center offers a
regular review of potential El Niño occurrences. Currently
(July 2009) it is predicting another event to materialize later in
2009, lasting into 2010. Visit http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/)
Quantifying the impact on coffee production of any given
El Niño occurrence is very difficult if not impossible.
Coffee production fluctuates from year to year for many different
reasons, including non-weather related ones as price for example…
Research of this kind is also not directly trade related and so we
recommend instead to visit the website of the International Coffee
Organization (ICO) in London (www.ico.org) to see whether the
production and export data available there offer some insight - go
to statistics, historical data. Secondly, the ICO avails of a
substantial library where related documentation could be available.
Contact the Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other useful
websites where El Niño related information on crop production can
be found include www.fao.org and
individual country information it may be best to contact the
different coffee institutions in coffee producing countries -
addresses available from the International Coffee Organization.
* For an introduction and overview of the subject visit
Posted 10 July 2009