Colombia's coffee harvest is 6% lower

National Federation of Coffee Growers remains optimistic

Colombia had lower production rates in the 2020 coffee harvest.

AgriBrasilis interviewed Roberto Vélez Vallejo, graduated in economics from Universidad del
Rosario and General Manager of the Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers since 2008.

AgriBrasilis – What is the reality of Colombian coffee production?

Roberto Vélez Vallejo – In Colombia, today, there are more or less 850,000 hectares planted with coffee, there is 540,000 families envolved with the production, we have produced, on average, in the last 6 years, 14.1 million bags and with exports between 12.5 and 13 million bags to the market International.


AgriBrasilis – Colombian coffee cultivation is recognized worldwide. What is the difference in the production? How do the country’s regionalities affect the quality of the product?

Roberto Vélez Vallejo – Colombia is a country that has always been recognized for the quality of its coffee. We opted for the manual harvest method, only of ripe fruits, which are then washed, fermented and dried. This provides the basic characteristics of Colombian coffee, where only arabica coffee is grown.

Regionally, Colombia has many differences. One of the characteristics that directly influence the coffee profile is latitude. Colombia has coffee production sites in the North and South, which differ by 10° in terms of latitude. This shows that in different regions there are different coffee profiles, as the soils also present different decompositions.


AgriBrasilis – Colombian production reached 13.9 million bags in 2020. What do these data represent?

Roberto Vélez Vallejo – In the last 6 years, we have produced an average of 14.1 million bags. In the year 2020, 13.9 million bags were produced, but these numbers do not necessarily correspond to the coffee that leaves the country, precisely because a lot of coffee passes from one month to the next, or if it is a few months without export, even so they enter the calculations.

However, Colombia has a coffee park with a capacity to produce between 14 and 14.5 million bags. Depends on what? It depends on the climate and fertilization to make it that way.


AgriBrasilis – Was there any impact on coffee production due to Covid-19?

Roberto Vélez Vallejo – In February, the arrival of the coronavirus in Colombia was announced and, immediately, the National Federation of Coffee Growers, instituted a program to teach farmers how to prevent and reduce contagion among coffee growers.

The national government took steps to end national trade, but luckily coffee production was fully supported and was able to move on. Therefore, what we have done is always to keep growers well informed so that the pandemic does not spread quickly in the area of coffee production.