Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) expressed interest Wednesday in expanding exports into Persian Gulf markets to take advantage of the region’s “exquisite tastes and deep pockets,” according to economic newspaper Portafolio.
“The strategy for this year is focusing on markets that can provide greater compensation,” said FNC President Luis Muñoz to Portafolio. “We see many possibilities in market development, and because of that, we are entering the Persian Gulf region for example.”
Colombia is the world’s leading exporter of the high-quality Arabica coffee bean, which is valued for its softer flavor in comparison to other species of the coffee plant and has led companies such as Starbucks to it seek out for boutique roasts.
Coffee commodity rates have dropped steeply over the past year, with Arabica prices leading the way. In November, 2012, the average coffee price was 170.08 cents per pound, while in November, 2013, the average price was down to 124.65 cents per pound, a 26.7% year-on-year decrease.
However, offsetting to some of the losses due to low prices, coffee production in the country increased 45% in 2013 compared to the previous year, after recovering from a fungus disease that gutted the industry during 2011-2012 seasons.
The traditional coffee export partners of Colombia coffee growers include United States, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Canada, England, South Korea, Spain and France.
Muñoz also said that expanding specialty coffee retailer Juan Valdez is another part of the coffee growers’ strategy. The record profit reported in 2013 by the coffee shop company have prompted its expansion into non-traditional markets such as South Korea, where 300 stores will be opened in 2014.
Despite sharp volatility experienced by coffee commodity prices in recent years, Muñoz predicts prices in 2014 to stay relatively similar to 2013, or experience some improvement to due to low yielding Central American harvests.