Colombian Coffee Exports Begin 2023 With 19% Slump

Climatic effects have impacted the production of coffee in Colombia, with exports in January totaling 835,000 60kg sacks, compared with one million in January 2022, but agribusiness experts point to how the industry can recover

Climatic effects have impacted the production of coffee in Colombia, with exports in January totaling 835,000 60kg sacks, compared with one million in January 2022
February 08, 2023 | 03:01 AM

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Bogotá — Colombian coffee began 2023 with multiple challenges due to adverse weather conditions as a result of the effects of the La Niña phenomenon, and which have continued to impact production.

“Although weather conditions due to the prolonged La Niña phenomenon have begun to improve, they have impacted production throughout the flowering and fruit formation period,” according to the country’s federation of coffee growers (FNC).

Colombian Coffee Production, Exports Fall In 2022

According to FNC figures, exports in January totaled 835,000 60kg bags , 19% less than the more than one million bags exported in January 2022, while, in the last 12 months, from February 2022 to January 2023, exports totaled 11.2 million 60 kg bags, a 10% drop compared to a year earlier.

Between October and January, exports totaled 3.7 million sacks, 15% less than the 4.3 million sacks shipped abroad in the same period of 2021-22.


On the production side, output totaled 868,000 sacks in January, which was around the same as the volume for the same month of 2022. However, according to the FNC, in the last 12 months production totaled 11.1 million sacks, a 10% drop compared with the 12.4 million sacks harvested a year ago.

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In the coffee-growing year, production totaled 3.8 million sacks, 14% below the almost 4.4 million sacks harvested during the same period of the previous year.

Consulted by Bloomberg Línea, the manager of agro-industry research at Bancolombia, Jhon Fredy Escobar, and his team, laid out what they consider to be the five main challenges for coffee growers this year in order to recover production and export levels.

  • Recover production levels. Colombia in 2019 produced 14.8 million sacks, and thereafter in 2020, 2021 and 2022, only achieved 90%, 85% and 75% of that harvest level, respectively. However, much of this results is due to the weather, a complex variable to control.
  • Recover and maintain the rhythm of renovation of coffee plantations, maintaining a young coffee plantation is key to increasing productivity in the field, which in the end is the most relevant variable in the profitability of any agricultural activity. The challenge is that the pace of crop renewal has slowed down, and it is complex for the coffee grower to make this decision at a time when prices, although they have corrected downwards, are still well above the levels of 2018 and 2019. For coffee growers, renewing their crop means ceasing to receive income from the coffee plantation while a new biological asset is tested out.
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  • Maintain the health of the crop. After three years of rains, it is likely that there will be, in any crop, a greater appearance of some diseases related to excess humidity. Thus, vigilance of this issue is very important, and it is necessary to take advantage of the price level to invest in pest surveillance and control.
  • Regain trust among stakeholders and strengthen coffee growers’ cooperatives. According to the analysis of the agro-industry research division of Bancolombia, several news items during 2021 and 2022 made visible the non-compliance in future coffee delivery agreements by some coffee growers, and the difficulties that this generated in some cooperatives. The research emphasizes that such growers are key to the sector, given that they help the coffee grower find a market for their harvest. Such situation impacts the trust between the two parties, which is a key issue in any agroindustrial chain, especially in the case of an export industry.
  • The export of products with a higher level of processing. Although much has been said on this matter, the analysis indicates that it is necessary to reinforce the idea that the country should depend less and less on the export of green coffee and instead invest in derivatives of the bean. Colombian coffee, which is a brand that is globally positioned, needs to take greater advantage of what in the world of marketing is known as brand extensions, that is to say, the use of a brand already positioned for the launching and commercialization of new categories.
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