Coffee harvest in Brazil
We are approaching the coffee harvest here in Brazil that occurs between mid-April and May, in most of the producing regions.
Infectologists estimate that, in the country, the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic will occur at the same period, coinciding with the country’s coffee harvest.
Use of labor in the properties
Harvesting is a stage with the greatest demand for labor in the fields, especially in mountain regions, not mechanized, such as the Matas de Minas and Sul de Minas.
In mountain regions, large-scale producers mostly depend on labor from the local community, from neighboring cities and even from nearby states to work on the harvest.
These producers may be the most affected by preventive measures, especially the sanitary barriers imposed by authorities in several municipalities, since they prevent the movement of people.
The problem may affect small and medium-sized producers to a lesser extent, since they have the participation of family and members of the local community in the harvest.
Survey with partner producers
During the last week, we talked by phone with 51 Atlantica Coffee partner producers in the regions of Matas de Minas, Sul de Minas and Mogiana to understand their expectation of Covid-19’s impacts on the harvest.
– Most are very optimistic and believe that Covid-19 will not disrupt the record crop;
– The majority will start the harvest in the second half of May;
– In properties with a warmer and humid climate, coffee growers will start the harvest in the second half of April or the first half of May, as usual;
Although most of the interviewees did not change the harvest date, the responsible entities are recommending to everyone to postpone the beginning of the harvest until May.
This is one of the measures recommended to preserve the health of everyone involved in this production stage and, also preserve the rural population in these regions.
All respondents will adopt measures to prevent Covid-19 at harvest, such as:
– Avoid and monitor agglomeration in the fields and means of transport;
– Instruct hand washing and provide soap or 70% gel alcohol;
– Minimum distance of 1.5m between people;
– Not sharing tools, utensils and PPE’s;
– Isolation of workers with flu symptoms;
– Do not hire workers from the risk group, etc.
Over the next few days, we will interview more coffee farmers to follow-up with the evolution of the process with the current scenario.
Coffee is one of the few agricultural products priced according to the quality of the cup. The stages of the harvest are important for the preservation of the quality of the coffee.
The adoption of strategies, aiming to adapt the harvesting processes to this exceptional scenario, is essential to guarantee health and life. Still, it is essential for the income of the producers and that of all the links in the coffee chain.
Atlantica Coffee team