Despite being the world’s fourth largest coffee producing country, 80% of the coffee consumed within Colombia was imported in 2012.
Colombia’s National Department of Statistics (DANE) confirmed that Colombia imported roughly 1 billion sacks of coffee from Peru and Ecuador, which accounted for roughly 80% of national consumption. In 2012 Colombia imported more coffee than ever before.
Luis Genaro Muñoz, the Director of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC), told Colombia news agency Semana that the trend is “not an extraordinary phenomenon.”
“The Colombian consumer is used to a cup of coffee that is not produced in our country … one that is of less quality and lower price,” explained Guillermo Trujillo, ex-secretary of the FNC.
Indeed, most of the coffee Colombia imported in 2012 was instant coffee. Trujillo further explaind that the coffee Colombia produces is of a high quality and price that puts it out of reach for most Colombian consumers. As a result, Colombia has depended on imports from countries with lower standards of quality, neighboring proximity, and lower prices.
In February of this year, coffee growers went on strike to protest low global prices and crippling production costs, due in part to the strong peso, which combined to devastate the coffee industry. Many farmers struggled to realize incomes that could cover their basic costs of living. However, after a string of negotiations with the Colombian government, the two parties reached an agreement in March that increased subsidies for coffee growers.