Vietnam's coffee crop to be at least 25 million bags in 2011-12

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Vietnam, the world's largest grower of robusta coffee, may produce at least 25 million bags in the 2011-12 season that started in October and may have another good crop next season because of beneficial weather, according to independent analyst Neil Rosser.

The 2011-12 estimate is higher than the US Department of Agriculture's forecast of 21 million bags. Rosser, based in London, has covered the coffee market for more than 20 years and is the former managing director of the statistical unit at Hamburg-based Neumann Gruppe GmbH, a coffee trading company.

Farmers must have planted more of the crop for this season, Rosser said in an interview at a coffee conference in Geneva on Wednesday. "˜There is still coffee held back in Vietnam. Stockpiles in Ho Chi Minh City went up last month."

Robusta coffee prices on NYSE Liffe have climbed 62 percent since the end of 2009, encouraging farmers to boost plantings in Vietnam. Prices are up 16 percent this year.

Farmers in Vietnam got an average 43,200 dong ($2.07) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) for their beans in 2010-11, Rosser estimated. That compares to a cost of production of 32,500 dong a kilogram, he said.

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