Colombian coffee production in January fell to around 515,000 bags, a yield estimated to be the Andean nation’s lowest since 1976.
January production fell 43% compared to the same month in 2009, when 876,000 60-kilo bags were produced. This is the lowest figure since January 1976, when the nation produced 345,000 bags.
The dramatic fall in production is attributed to the severe drought in Colombia, which has affected coffee plantations and stunted the growth of beans.
The official figures for national coffee production and export will be released later this week by the National Federation of Coffee Growers.
Environmental agency IDEAM representative Maria Martinez said that Colombia’s current period of drought and high temperatures is due to the El Niño phenomenon.
Colombian coffee was valued at $2.07 per pound in the first five days of February, with a premium of 77 cents to the dollar. The premium then dropped to 65 cents to the dollar, following speculation that Colombian production will increase in 2010 to between 11 and 12 million bags.
Colombia produced 7.8 million bags of coffee in 2009, far below 2008’s yield of 11.4 million bags.