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Colombia, the world’s leading producer of mild washed Arabica coffee, recorded a harvest of 1.1 million bags in February, a 7 per cent increase compared to February 2015’s coffee production. However, despite the positive growth trend, the country is on alert about the potentially adverse impact of El Niño on Colombian coffee growing.

Year-to-date production reached a level of 2.2 million bags, a 5 per cent increase compared to the 2.1 million bags produced between January and February 2015. During the last 12 months (March 2015-February 2016), the coffee harvest increased 16 per cent by reaching nearly 14.3 million bags. So far this coffee year (October 2015-February 2016), production has increased 18 per cent by reaching nearly 6.4 million bags.

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) is concluding a comprehensive field study to assess the impact of El Niño. The study is based on a sample of 7,000 farms throughout Colombia’s coffee departments. The results of the study will help ensure that the measures adopted to support coffee growers respond to their specific needs.

The FNC has encouraged coffee growers to follow appropriate post-harvesting practices in order to benefit from the recently adopted trade policies. This will mitigate the impact of El Niño on their income while upholding quality and reputation of Colombian coffee in international markets. Similarly, campaigns to control the coffee berry borer (CBB) are now underway. The fact that CBB spreads more easily during dry seasons makes this a period of particular vulnerability for Colombian coffee growers.

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