Coffee production for this year is projected at around 1.1 million bags, Coffee Industry Corporation Acting Chief Executive Officer Charles Dambui says.

Mr Dambui was giving an overview of this year in view of the major coffee growing provinces that were affected by the drought last year.

He said that the drought did not kill the trees but was able to cause massive defoliation in some parts of the country, especially in drier areas.

“These defoliated trees will not produce any crop for this year. However, with the onset of rains they will put on the leaves and recover. Evidently there will be some loss of production from these trees but by how much we have no idea since we do not have any data.”

Dambui said that those trees that have survived the drought with leaves on them will be able to produce bumper crop because the dry period was conducive for floral bud formation. The longer the dry period, the higher the bud formation.

Dambui said the onset of rains was necessary for floral buds to open and flower.  “The leaves that remained on the tree during and after the drought facilitated that process. With new leaves put on during the rains they would be able to continue with photosynthesis and supply of carbohydrates.”

Dambui further stated that while expectations for 2014/2015 have been high given smaller crops in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the prolonged drought which occurred during crucial coffee period (since April 2015) has affected coffee production. It was observed that coffee trees were stressed out resulting in lower crop production last year.

Dambui said following the droughts in 1988 and 1997 respectively, bumper crops of 1.3 million bags were exported both in 1989 and 1998.

He said with the massive flowering and fruit development, a higher crop is expected this year.