Countries updated in this post: Ecuador
Risk Level: Yellow
What is occurring in Ecuador is devastating, with one of the worst outbreaks and mortality rates in Latin America. More than 70% of the cases are in the province of Guayas, home to the capital city of Guayaquil. Many believe that the official numbers are low--off by an exponential margin. While there is uncertainty about what will happen to the economy and agricultural exports, at the farm-level, coffee production looks strong, with good flowering and plenty of coffee. However, there is a rising concern that producers will not be able to find buyers this year since the majority of Ecuadoran production is now structured around high-end specialty markets. Many producers are trying to develop strategies to compete in lower quality, higher-volume markets, but this will be challenging due to higher costs of production given the orientation toward producing and processing micro-lots and other super-premium coffees. Some producer organizations are starting to organize harvest teams with protective equipment to avoid infection. This approach will also increase costs, but it is the only way to ensure the safety of farmers, laborers, and consumers.
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