YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon's Arabica coffee exports were down by a third at the end of May to 1,277 tonnes for the 2010/11 season, compared with the same period in the previous one, according to statistics from two industry boards.
The statistics from the National Cocoa and Coffee Board (NCCB) and the Cocoa and Coffee Interprofessional Board (CCIB) sent to Reuters on Monday showed the Central African country exported 1,923 tonnes of arabica coffee for the same period in the 2009/10 season.
The data also showed a milder fall in robusta coffee exports by 13 percent, to 21,873 tonnes, from 25,199 tonnes.
Speaking to Reuters from the economic capital Douala, CCIB chief operations officer Andre Marie Lema said the drop may be due to speculation on the local market buoyed by high world prices.
"It is still too early to say whether there has been a drop in production or not, but what I can say for now is that some farmers may be stocking their produce in the hope that prices on the world market will go up again so they can make more money," he said. "This is what we have observed in the past."
He said Arabica coffee prices hit an all-time high price of 2,500 CFA francs to 2,850 CFA francs per kilogram in May, while Robusta coffee prices also shot up to 1,000-1,100 CFA francs per kilogram.
Cameroon's Arabica coffee is grown only in two of the country's 10 regions, West and North-West, with the season running from October to September, while Robusta is grown in seven regions from December to November.