Published: Friday 15 October 1999

-- Coffee plantation owners in Brazil heaved a sigh of relief after the much-awaited spring showers lashed the parched country. The showers came after days of prolonged drought, which had hit the country's coffee belt and was threatening to cause heavy losses in the coming season, said Cooxupe, a leading cooperative of coffee growers.

"Since the first days of August, we have been apprehensive about the drought that occurred in all coffee-producing regions in the country," said the cooperative in a press release. Citing reports from agronomists on individual areas in the key coffee-producing states, Cooxupe said, moisture levels in soil were in deficit and the extended drought had caused unacceptable stress to trees. "The projections which were made months ago heralding a large Brazilian crop to be harvested next year are not going to be confirmed. A portion of the future production is already lost because of the drought," it said.

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