UPDATE 1-ICO sees roya cutting '12/13 coffee output by 2.5 mln bags - RTRS
LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - The International Coffee Organization (ICO) on Friday estimated 2.5 million 60-kg bags of crop losses to 2012/13 global coffee output due to roya or leaf rust disease.
Losses could rise to around 4 million bags in the 2013/14 crop year, the ICO added.
Aggressive outbreaks of the blight known as roya have hit Central America's major coffee-producing nations and Mexico, which are home to more than a fifth of the world's arabica coffee production.
"The big impact is not in the year you detect it but the year after," said Mauricio Galindo, head of operations at the ICO.
Roya is known as leaf rust due to the powdery orange spores that appear on the underside of infected leaves. Leaves eventually turn black and fall off, killing or severely weakening the tree.
The ICO said it had not yet factored in the disease-related losses to its official forecasts but would do so in its next monthly update.
The organization's most recent official forecast pegged world 2012/13 output at 144.4 million bags. World consumption in 2012 was estimated at 142.2 million bags.
Galindo said it could take up to ten years to combat the disease as new trees would have to be planted.
A coffee tree takes three to five years to produce its first full crop of beans, making a replanting programme a lengthy process.
Earlier this week Ricardo Villanueva, president of the ICO's private sector consultative board and previously president of Guatemala's coffee growers association Anacafé, estimated roya could cut 2013/14 output by between 5 million and 7 million bags.