Colombian coffee production in the first half of 2010 is pegged to rise 22% to 5,156,851 bags of 60 kilograms each, Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers, or Fedecafe, said Monday.
Releasing its first official forecast for the calendar year 2010, Fedecafe said in a statement that the forecast is based on the amount of coffee currently on trees. Production from January to June last year reached 4.241 million bags.
Fedecafe said the figure has an error margin of 4.7%, which would put the range for production in the first half of the year as low as 4.9 million and up to as high as 5.4 million bags.
The new figure is in sharp contrast with forecasts by international analysts, traders and exporters, who agree that Colombia will struggle even to match the output levels of last year.
Fedecafe said the forecast is based on "normal climate conditions" and that the El Nino-related weather damage seen during the past two years will not continue, but rainfall in January has already been reported to be sharply below normal levels because of the El Nino impact.
The forecast is also seen in sharp contrast to the first indicators for the year, as Fedecafe last week reported production in January to be down 41% to 515,000 bags, the lowest volume reported for that month in 34 years.
Fedecafe said a separate forecast for production in the second half of 2010 won't be released until July.
-By Maja Wallengren, Dow Jones Newswires; firstname.lastname@example.org