By Agrimoney.com - Published 20/05/2014
Colombia will strengthen its newly-rediscovered grip on third rank among world coffee
producers next season, lifting its harvest to a seven-year high, while heavy rains lower
output in rival Indonesia.
Colombian coffee production will hit 11.9m bags in 2014-15, the highest since 2007-08, as
bushes mature that were planted a reseeding programme aimed at promoting varieties
resistant to the rust fungus, the US Department of Agriculture's Bogota bureau said.
"Replanting efforts with rust resistant varieties and the return to more normal weather
conditions have continued to support a production recovery," the bureau said in a report.
Besides the wait for new trees to mature, Colombian output was also held back during
2009-11 by excessive rains, blamed on the La Nina weather pattern, which promoted ideal
conditions for the spread of rust.
But output has recovered strongly since, and its forecast to hit 10.8m bags this season, with
rust believed to have affected "only" 7% of coffee area.
Colombia vs Indonesia
The rise in production will lift exports to 11.59m bags, a 21-year high, the bureau said,
"Colombian coffee exports have been expanding significantly since 2013," with more than
40% going to the US.
The South American country's rising fortunes contrast with those of Indonesia - which
overtook Colombia to take third rank in coffee output between 2008-09 and last season,
when output was depressed first by hot and dry weather which reduced flowering, before
excessive rains set back fruiting.
Production in the South East Asian country is seen falling for a second successive season in
2014-15, to 8.9m bags, depressed by "excessive precipitation during the 2013 dry season",
which disturbed pollination of the flowers bearing this year's cherries.
"Robusta coffee, which requires wind and insect pollination, is expected to face declines up
to 500,000 bags," the bureau said.
Indonesian output is also being held back by "poor agricultural practices" and by the extent
of old trees, with waning yields.
El Nino threat
Indonesia's woes will curtail its exports to a seven-year low of 7.2m bags in 2014-15, more
than 4m bags behind those of Colombia.
However, Colombian growers may yet face their own weather setbacks if an El Nino
weather pattern begins this year, as expected, and which has a history of cutting the
country's rainfall levels. Official Colombian meteorologists say that "the El Niño phenomenon is on the horizon, and
will create drought conditions towards second half of 2014, which could stem the ongoing
production recovery and affect coffee quality".
Drier weather would also encourage outbreaks of the broca cherry borer beetle, "also
impacting coffee quality and exportable supplies".
Some concern over Colombia's recovery was also raised last week when data for April
showed the first year on year fall in monthly output since 2012, with output falling 14% to
In March, production rose 34% year on year.