By Roberto Samora
SAO PAULO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Coffee production in the area of operation of Brazil's Cooxupe, the world's largest coffee co-op, will be larger in 2023 than it was in 2022 or 2021, but not a record, something that could happen in 2024, Cooxupe representatives said on Thursday.
Carlos Augusto Rodrigues de Melo, the head of the co-op that is Brazil's largest coffee exporter, said that the climate has been good for crop development this year, but added that some fields are still reeling from effects from drought and frosts in the last two years.
"The crop this year will be larger, but not as large as we were expecting," he told reporters on a video conference as the co-op holds its annual Femagri exposition in Minas Gerais state.
Cooxupe operates in the largest producing areas for arabica coffee in Brazil, including South Minas Gerais, Cerrado Mineiro and Mogiana Paulista.
Melo said that a more accurate estimate of production in 2023 will be possible around March or April, a period closer to the harvest that usually starts around June.
"The fields look good, trees are robust, vigorous, so we hope for a larger production in 2024," the Cooxupe head said.
Melo believes that current prices around 1,100 reais per bag in Minas Gerais are positive, although farmers have been dealing with high production costs.
He said that there was a great improvement in the logistics side, with larger availability of containers and falling shipping costs, which will help the export season this year.
(Reporting by Roberto Samora, writing by Marcelo Teixeira in New York, editing by Sandra Maler)
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