Bloomberg News

Kenya’s Coffee Crop Threatened by Thrips Outbreak, Group Says

July 01, 2011

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Kenyan coffee growers face a “serious” outbreak of thrips that may worsen at the end of the East African country’s cold season, the Coffee Research Foundation said.

“Coffee farmers are advised to perform regular pest surveys in their farms to monitor thrips population and take appropriate measures,” the Ruiru, Kenya-based organization said in a statement published in the Daily Nation newspaper today. Other pest outbreaks, including green-scale infestations and coffee- leaf rust, may also increase, the organization said.

Thrips are insects that feed on the lower surface of leaves, buds, flowers and fruits, according to the website of infonet-biovision, a Swiss non-profit organization. Heavy infestations can cause premature wilting, delayed leaf development and premature fruit shedding, it said.

Kenya may produce 40,000 metric tons of coffee this season, compared with 45,000 tons last year, according to the Coffee Board of Kenya. Farmers harvest the bulk of their crop from October through December, while a secondary crop is reaped from April to June.

Sales of the beans resumed on June 28 after a two-month break, where the average price for all coffee sold rose 5.8 percent to $311.67 per bag, according to the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

--Editors: Paul Richardson, Gordon Bell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Johnstone Ole Turana in Nairobi at jturana@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson in Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.


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