Colombian coffee growers will not produce enough coffee to meet an already-lowered 2012 target as torrential rains, a rising peso and lower international prices have caused production to slacken and the price per load to decrease.
Luis Fernando Samper, the Communications Director for Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) told Colombia Reports on Monday that his country is not alone in having problems with its coffee economy.
“All countries are suffering,” said Samper.
The additional problem in Colombia, said Samper, “is composed of an appreciation of the Colombian peso…and a fall in revenues from problems [stemming from] the climate. This makes us worry more than other countries.”
The FNC on Saturday lowered its production target for 2012 to around 8 million 60-kg bags after already decreasing the target from 9 million to 8.5 million earlier this year. Historically, Colombia has produced around 11 million sacks a year.
The decline in Colombia’s coffee production is not new. According to Business Recorder, Colombia’s coffee output hit a 33-year low in 2011 “due to rains which prevented flowering and sparked an increase in coffee tree diseases.”
To combat this trend, Samper said “there are short-term solutions such as those the government is doing [giving farmers a] $33 per load [subsidy], but long-term solutions are associated with renewal programs and planting fungus resistant trees…thus be[ing] better prepared for future challenges.”
“Understand that most of Colombia’s 560,000 farmers are small landholders with less than 13 acres,” said Samper. “So the challenge is to make producers more competitive [amidst] climate change issues.”
The Communications Director explained that while international prices cannot be controlled, “it is possible to generate value-added programs and also develop price hedging points” to assist vulnerable Colombian farmers.
Coffee prices worldwide have fallen 26% this year.