updated 12/4/2006 1:51:48 AM ET 2006-12-04T06:51:48

Typhoon Durian is forecast to dump heavy rains later on Monday on Vietnam’s central coffee-growing area during peak harvest time, state forecasters said.

The rains would continue into Tuesday, especially in the southern part of the Central Highlands, the National Center for Hydro and Meteorology said.

“Rains are also expected in Daklak’s eastern part adjacent to Khanh Hoa province,” an official said by telephone from Daklak, Vietnam’s top coffee growing area. The typhoon was expected to make landfall in coastal Khanh Hoa.

The Central Highlands produce 80 percent of Vietnam’s coffee and while storms and typhoons often bring no direct impact on the area some 500 metres above sea level, rains have triggered floods and disrupted coffee harvesting in the past.

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer after Brazil. Traders said Vietnamese farmers have harvested 30 percent to 50 percent of the crop.

Vietnam’s coffee output is expected to rise to between 15 million and 18.6 million bags, traders said, from 12.33 million bags in the previous crop. One bag contains 60 kg of beans.

1,000 feared dead
The typhoon, which was centered at 200 km east of Khanh Hoa at 9:00 a.m. on Monday after leaving up to 1,000 people dead in the Philippines, will move southwest across Lam Dong province, Vietnam’s No. 2 coffee province, the weather report said.

Rains — critical during the harvest — would not only prevent farmers from drying cherries, thus delaying delivery, but could also cause early flowering, which normally should only take place in February after the harvest ends in January.

The early blossoms will lead to a loss of coffee flowers, thus reducing the next crop output. Vietnam’s coffee crop year lasts between October and September.

The government has sent soldiers and police to help evacuate thousands of people from dangerous areas along the central coast as the typhoon, named after a pungent and spiky Asian fruit, strengthened on Sunday in the South China Sea.

Authorities called in fishing vessels, ordered oil firms to check their rigs and off-shore stations in southern waters. People on land were warned of strong winds, flash floods and especially landslides after the storm hits.

One Vietnamese fisherman died and three others were missing as their boats sank while running to take shelter.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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