Torrential rain will hinder Colombia from increasing its output of coffee this season, the head of the country’s main growers’ group said Thursday.
Coffee production in the 2011-12 season that began Oct. 1 will likely total 8.5 million 60-kilogram bags, the same as the 2010-11 season, said Luis Genaro Munoz, general manager of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, or Fedecafe.
“We don’t expect to increase production,” Munoz told Dow Jones Newswires in a telephone interview. “The weather this year has been worse than last year.”
Heavy rain has hurt consecutive harvests in Colombia, the world’s second-largest producer of arabica beans after Brazil, and crimped global supplies. This year’s weather has hurt coffee plants, knocking the cherries that contain the coffee beans from the trees, and the excess humidity has triggered a fungus in some plants.
Roadways blocked by mudslides are also prohibiting coffee from being transported from the hilly Andean farms where it is grown to coastal ports.
“Colombia has a serious roadway problem,” Munoz said. Colombia’s highland-grown beans are prized for their mild flavors and fetch a premium to prices on IntercontinentalExchange. Benchmark futures for arabica coffee for March delivery settled Wednesday at $2.3540 per pound.