Coffee production in Colombia, the world’s second-largest producer of arabica beans, may fall about 5.3 percent short of forecasts this year as above-average rainfall damages plants, a coffee growers’ leader said.
This year, farmers may harvest about 9 million bags, said Jose Sierra, a member of the national policy committee at Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. The group in October forecast a 2010 harvest of 9.5 million bags.
“We didn’t expect the kind of rainfall we’ve seen,” Sierra said in an interview today in Bogota.
Production may decline further in 2011 if rainfall that damages plants lasts beyond February, he said. Coffee has surged 52 percent in 12 months, partly after a decline in Colombia’s crop to a 33-year low in 2009 depressed supplies.
Wet weather has fueled the spread of a fungus that attacks coffee plants, Sierra said. Rainfall in Colombia this quarter has triggered landslides and flooding and reduced sunshine needed for crops, according to statements on the website of Colombia’s state-run Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies.
In January, Colombian growers forecast 2010 production of as much as 12 million bags. In 2009, production was 7.8 million bags. Each bag weighs 60 kilograms, or 132 pounds.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of arabica beans. (Heather Walsh / Bloomberg)