Brazil Is Parched. Period.

May 25, 2021

As the largest exporter of coffee, sugar, and orange juice, Brazil’s weather woes should worry the world.

A rainy season just ended with hardly any rain, and many farmers have already used up water reserves they hold on to for the upcoming dry season.

To put it in perspective: “My irrigation reservoir is drying up now — that usually happens in August,” said Mauricio Pinheiro, who lives in Pedregulho in the Alta Mogiana region, in Sao Paulo. “I’m really concerned about running out of water in the coming months.”

Even irrigated areas aren’t making it rain. The outcome? Orange output is already down 31% from last season, and the USDA is predicting Brazil will have the smallest coffee crop in the past four years.

And it’s not just the run-of-the-mill coffee. It’s Arabica coffee beans, the high-end variety used by stores like Starbucks.

Where this goes: All told, Brazilian farmers are facing a perfect dry storm, and its implications go further than the country’s second corn crop.