Colombia’s agriculture minister said the national coffee sector is in “crisis” following a drop in production of one third over the last four years.
Juan Camilo Restrepo told W Radio Tuesday that the Andean nation went from producing 12 million 132lb bags of coffee to just eight million bags and that the price of beans lowered by 30% during the same period.
“We’ve had four years during which production has not surpassed eight million bags. The country has lost four million bags per year and this means lesser income for the National Coffee Fund,” said the minister referring to the organ of the Federation of Coffee Growers which is sustained by contributions from coffee growers, coffee sales and royalties from the use of the Juan Valdez brand, as well as state resources.
The fund carries out social and environmental projects for the benefit of coffee growing families such as road building and home improvements.
Speaking on the same subject at the Chamber of Commerce in La Virginia in the coffee-growing department of Risaralda Thursday, Restrepo said the best thing do to escape this crisis was to renovate coffee farming with strains that are resistant to the roya plant fungus and to rejuvenate the coffee growing workforce.
He made comparisons with Vietnam where the average age of a coffee farm owner is 30, whereas in Colombia it is 50, making modernizing the sector more difficult.