Colombia's Coffee Harvest Surged to 10.9M Bags in 2013

Features Reuters

Colombia produced 10.9 million 60-kg bags of arabica coffee in 2013, the national growers' federation said on Friday, a 41 percent jump over the previous year, helped by improved weather and millions of new trees reaching productive age.

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Exports for the year were 9.7 million 60-kg bags, a 35 percent increase over the previous year, the federation's data showed.

The leap in output this year seemed to show that a run of bad harvests from 2008 due to bad weather and the widespread renewal of trees in response to a roya fungus epidemic is now firmly behind the world's top grower of washed arabicas.

In 2012, Colombia's coffee harvest yielded just 7.7 million bags. Officials at the coffee federation see the potential for the crop to expand in the coming years with many more trees still to reach productive age.

The Andean nation has planted 2.8 billion new coffee trees in the last five years, its monthly production bulletin said, noting that it had also leapfrogged Indonesia in 2013 to reclaim the rank of the world's third-biggest coffee grower.

"Greater productivity is contributing to recovering competitiveness. We hope that average productivity will continue to increase in 2014, which will help in part to compensate for the uncertain outlook for international prices," said Luis Genaro Munoz Ortega, head of the coffee growers' federation.

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(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by James Dalgleish)