Colombian gold exports overtook coffee exports in early 2010, as gold sales shot up by 42.4% between January and April this year, while the coffee industry witnessed a decline of 9.7% over the same period, reports La Republica.
Coffee exports for the first quarter of 2010 stood at $538.1 million, whereas Gold exports reached $635.3 million.
“The decline in foreign sales of coffee is due to falling production which has been a result of climate and a crop renovation program,” said the former deputy minister for foreign trade, Mauricio Reina.
Jorge Lozano of the National Association of Coffee Exporters of Colombia (Asoexport) agreed, conceding that “there is nothing to export due to the decline in coffee production.”
Coffee production fell to 7.8 million bags in 2009, down from 11.1 million in the previous year.
This decade Colombia has seen a boom in mining and hydrocarbon exports which went from 25% of total foreign sales in the early 2000s to around 50% today.
The director of mines at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ercilia Monroy Sanchez, said that the rise in gold exports is down to strong market prices and renewed confidence among foreign investors following president Uribe’s democratic security policy, which has used hard-line tactics to deal with rebel and armed groups in the Andean nation.