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Colombia Production: Two Periods of Sharp Decline

23.06.2024 09:00 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Colombia is the third-largest coffee producer in the world behind Brazil and Vietnam combined Arabica and Robusta output and is the second-largest Arabica producer after Brazil. In the last 2decades, Colombia coffee growers experienced two sharp annual declines, coinciding with extreme weather events. In 2024/25, Brazil Arabica production is forecast to rise, but is below recent highs as recovery

continues. Reduced output from these top suppliers has contributed to world ending stocks trending lower over the last decade on rising consumption.

Colombias first reduction started during the 2008/09harvest when heavy rains increased humidity and encouraged coffee rust, which led to a high rate of undeveloped coffee cherries dropping to the ground.

This created an ideal environment for the coffee cherry borer insect to proliferate, and the combined impact of rust and insect infestation caused output to drop 3.9million bags to 8.7million. This marked the lowest production since 1972/73. In response, the industry embarked on an aggressive tree

renovation program to replace trees with rust-resistant varieties. The program had the near-term effect of lowering output until these trees reached maturity; production continued to slip until bottoming at 7.7million bags in 2011/12. The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FEDECAFE) estimates that nearly 85percent of coffee area is now planted with rust-resistant varieties compared to

just 35percent in 2007/08. The renovation program reduced the average age of coffee trees from about 15to 7years and increased yields by nearly 30percent. By 2013/14, output recovered to 12.1million bags.

The second output drop occurred during the 2021/22harvest when excessive rains and cloud cover disrupted the flowering process. This caused production to fall 1.6million bags to 11.8million, the lowest level in nearly a decade. Yields continued to decrease in 2022/23because growers limited

fertilizer use due to near record prices for nitrogen, phosphate, and potash following Russias invasion of Ukraine. This exacerbated an already limited fertilizer supply situation. Output rebounded to 12.2 million bags in 2023/24 on favorable growing conditions but yields remained nearly 15 percent below

normal because elevated fertilizer prices continued to limit utilization. For 2024/25, Arabica production is forecast up 200,000 bags to 12.4 million on slightly higher yields but below previous highs due to increased rates of coffee cherry borer insect infestations.

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