Why environmental sustainability is key to Colombian coffee production

For several years, the global coffee price has been under pressure, posing a challenge for many producing nations. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), a slight price adjustment in March ended a 17-month price streak; however, for prices to remain sustainable, it will be essential to achieve a better equilibrium between supply and demand.

Colombia, the world’s leading producer of mild coffee and speciality coffee, is caught in the middle of this fluctuating commodity situation. Flavia Santoro, the president of the government’s ProColombia organisation, asserts that Colombian coffee “stands out for its origin, planting method, and premium quality.”

Arabica is the national variety, and according to Santoro, it is exceptional for several reasons: greater acidity and softness, superior infusion quality, intense aroma, and lower caffeine content.

When asked about the country’s national advantages as a top producer, Santoro stated that Colombia “enjoys the privilege of having separate harvests in the first and second semesters, which enables a reliable and high-quality supply.” Additionally, the country is committed to environmental sustainability and the welfare of local communities involved in coffee production, as evidenced by its affiliations with certified Organic, UTZ, Fair Trade, and Rain Forest Alliance.

Maria Carolina Buitrago, an Analytical Manager at the U.S.-based credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings, estimates that in 2021 “the production and processing of coffee products contributed 0.99% of Colombia’s gross domestic product and 12.29% of the total agricultural product, which marked a historical high”.

“The future outlook for Colombian coffee production is positive, but significant obstacles must be overcome to achieve the expected results for the sector,” says Buitrago.

During the same period, the FNC estimates that the domestic per capita consumption of coffee was 2.8 kilogrammes, higher than the three-year average of 2.2 kilogrammes. Comparing this result to that of other nations, Buitrago notes that the volume is still low.

“However, there are factors that could lead to an increase in the coming years: on the one hand, an increase in consumption at a younger age and an increase in the consumption of coffee-based beverages,” says Buitrago.

The external market is also a significant factor for Colombia. According to the FNC, the country will have sold 12,4 million 60-kilogram bags of green coffee by the end of 2021, a figure comparable to that of 2020. The United States received the lion’s share of sales, accounting for 41.9% of the total, followed by Germany at 7% and Japan at 6.9%. In the first five months of the coffee year 2021/22, Colombia’s exports decreased by 10.5%, from 5.97 million bags to 5.34 million bags, according to the ICO.

Read more • gcrmag.com

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