Colombian coffee growers produced over 66,000 tons of coffee in January 2014, the highest volume of coffee produced in the country since 2008, according to the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (NFCG).
The production registered during January totalled 1,011,000 bags of coffee weighing approximately 132.2 pounds each, continuing the the trend from last year when coffee production grew 15% during the same month.
“The average productivity of coffee plantations has increased, going from 11.1 bags of green coffee per productive hectare in 2012 to 14.1 bags at the end of 2013— representing an increase of 27%,” according to the NFCG.
The NFCG added that from October 2013 to January 2014 — the first four months of the coffee harvest— 4.3 million bags of coffee were harvested, a 34% increase from the 3.2 million bags collected between the same months in the 2012 to 2013 period, when a fungus devastated harvests across the country.
Coffee exports also went up in January, with some 967,000 bags leaving the country, another 30% increase from the previous year.
According to the Vanguardia newspaper, the raise in production is due in part to an NFCG program that provides coffee growers with equipment to deal with damaging parasites, like Africa’s “Broca” beetle, that continue to affect world-wide and nationally based operations.
General Manager of the NFCG Luis Genaro Muñoz said that the outlook for the coming year is encouraging, citing the competitiveness of new production areas in the country, the decline of the Colombian peso in relation to the US dollar — a boost for exporters — and the increase in global coffee consumption, Vanguardia reported.
Despite high levels of production, however, small-scale coffee growers are still facing a self-declared “crisis,” the result of falling international prices, high production costs, and growing debts. The farmers recently announced a planned strike deadline for later this spring if the government fails to provide them with further relief. The strike would mark the second major industry shutdown in two years.