Brazil dams are drying up, and world’s coffee, orange supplies may be next
With Covid already making food prices spike, the top exporter’s declining output is the last thing the world needs
Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice, just had a rainy season that brought hardly any rain.
Soils are parched and river levels are low in the nation’s Centre-South region, a powerhouse of agricultural output. The drought is so severe that farmers are worried they’ll run out of the water reserves that help keep crops alive over the next several months, the country’s dry season.
Mauricio Pinheiro, 59, started irrigating his arabica-coffee crops in March, two months earlier than normal, after his 53-hectare plantation got less than half of the rain it needed. He’s using so much water for the plants that there isn’t enough left for his home. To keep the showers and taps running, he’s had to search for another well...