Thursday, January 07, 2010

Costa Rica coffee crops spared from volcano blast

San Jose, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Costa Rica's high-quality coffee crops were spared from damage this week when a long-dormant volcano erupted for the first time in more than 140 years, spewing ash and forcing some evacuations.

A handful of coffee plantations, including one of the country's leading growers Cafe Aquiares, are near the slopes of the Turrialba volcano in central Costa Rica. But most lie at least 20 kms away from the affected area, the national coffee institute said.

"The coffee growing area is a distance from the volcano," Juan Jose Obando, co-ordinator of the regional Turrialba office of the Coffee Institute known as Icafe, told Reuters. "At this time we can say there are no problems," Obando said.

Farmers are still watching closely for the 3,340-meter volcano's next move. The last time it erupted was in 1866.

The volcano awoke in May 2007 with increased seismic and gaseous activity, according to Maria Martinez, volcano expert at the Costa Rican Volcanology and Seismology Observatory.

The blast on Tuesday afternoon forced emergency authorities to evacuate nearby residents from their homes.

During the mid-1990s as many as 1,700 growers produced coffee in Turrialba region, but the number has fallen considerably, Icafe said.

Many farmers abandoned their coffee crops at the beginning of this decade when world coffee prices collapsed because of oversupply.

Costa Rica, known for its top-quality beans, sees exports reaching 1.46 million 60-kg bags in 2009/10 harvest, up 10.6 per cent from the previous cycle.

No comments:

Related posts