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Guatemalan coffee association Anacafé says it estimates that the eruption of the Fuego volcano has affected an area equivalent to 0.91 per cent of national production.

The initial eruption of on 3 June 2018 left at least 110 people dead and 200 missing. Recent reports indicate that volcanic activity is continuing.

In a statement issued shortly after the volcano erupted, Anacafé said production units in the region of Sacatepéquez, in the communities of Antigua Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, San Juan Alotenango and El Rodeo in Escuintla, were among the most badly affected by the deluge of falling ash and volcanic material.

The worst affected coffee growing areas in Chimaltenango are around Acatenango and San Pedro Yepocapa. Anacafé said the communities of Panimaché, Santa Sofía and Morelia had also been affected. Damage has also been reported in El Tejar and San Martín Jilotepeque.

Coffee growing areas closest to the cone of the volcano and those areas without cover from shade trees were the most affected, it said. With each eruption, ash and sandy material falls on coffee growing areas, coating the plants’ foliage. In some parts of the coffee growing region the damage has been reduced by rainfall, which has helped dislodge the ash.

“A more accurate estimate of the damage to coffee production caused by the eruption will only be known once we have seen how the fruit develops,” Anacafé said.

In a statement issued to C&CI, co-operative Fedecocagua said that although its dry mill in Palín was not badly affected other than being covered with ash, it knew of at least one co-operative that had been evacuated and another eight affected by ash falling on coffee plantations.

“The evacuated co-operative is Cooperative Unión Huista,” Fedecocagua said. “Their village is surrounded by two trenches, which carried the lava flow that stopped 3km from it. Due to toxic gases and proximity of the lava, people started to evacuate on 3 June. A few people have stayed in the village to prevent looting. Most are staying in shelters in Escuintla and in one in Lucerna. The main road is blocked and will remain so until the eruption stops. Plantations of corn and beans have also been decimated by the ashes in the village.”

Fedecocagua said the other co-operatives whose plantations have been affected are: Cooperative Acatenango, El Pensativo, San Pedrana, CODEPA, Unión Victoria, COFEAG, ARUBUCAMO and Union Huista. It said its commitments and coffee shipments to customers will continue as planned, although the route to the Pacific (south), from its facilities in Palín, Escuintla to Puerto Quetzal, had been interrupted.


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(photo: Anacafé)

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