SOURCE: Colombian Coffee Growers Federation

Colombian Coffee Growers Federation

July 16, 2014 17:51 ET

Colombia Renewed More Than 3 Billion Coffee Trees Over the Last Five and a Half Years

Coffee Harvest and Productivity Have Increased Over 27% in the Last 12 Months; Average Age of Colombian Coffee Plantations Fell From 12.4 to 7.3 Years; Credits for 208,734 Small Coffee Farmers Have Been Processed for Over $550 Million for Renovation of More Than 178,000 Hectares

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA--(Marketwired - Jul 16, 2014) - Between January 2009 and June 2014, Colombia, the world's largest producer of mild Arabica coffee, renewed 3.05 billion coffee trees, which represents an unprecedented production transformation in a perennial crop, that benefits coffee growers with farms of all sizes.

This effort is part of the strategy to increase productivity of Colombian plantations, fight against the rust fungus and better prepare coffee farmers for climate variability, which currently affects agriculture in Colombia and the world. A total of 575,000 hectares -- 60% of the total area grown in Colombia -- have been renewed with new trees and higher crop densities, allowing for an increased modernization of coffee plantations.

Of the total number of renewed trees, 74%, or 2.26 billion trees, are varieties that are resistant to rust. In the same period, average age of coffee trees fell from 12.4 to 7.3 years, which translates into younger and more productive coffee plantations.

This important coffee-growing reconversion policy was adopted and intensified due to damages from heavy rains ("ola invernal") caused by La Niña weather phenomenon that took place between 2009 and 2012, which caused an increase of over 30% in levels of rust infection and an important reduction of sunlight, which in turn significantly reduced productivity of plantations and production volume in those years. During that period, the coffee plantations renovation program was adopted and implemented in order to reconvert existing hectares through sowing of new resistant Arabica coffee varieties developed by the FNC-Colombian Coffee Growers Federation´s Research Center (Cenicafé).

This long-term effort has started yielding important results over the last two years, a period from which many young renewed plantations started their production cycles.

Coffee production continues to rise thanks to renovation

In June 2014, coffee production from the last 12 months reached 11.5 million bags, up 27% from the same period from 2013, and average productivity of plantations increased from 11.1 bags of green coffee per hectare to 14.5 bags, accounting for a 31% rise, an indicator expected to continue improving with the start of the production of renewed plantations.

Additionally, coffee-growing productivity has increased thanks to the work of more than 1,500 extensionists, the FNC´s Coffee Growers Committees, scientific work of Cenicafé and public-private partnerships led by the Federation with the support of regional and local governments, as well as clients, private sector companies and international cooperation organizations, which have contributed with resources and complementary efforts.

Thanks to this continued investment in productivity, the production trend for the first half of 2014 has exceeded figures recorded in previous years.

About the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC)

The FNC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1927 that represents over 500,000 coffee growing families. Considered one of the largest rural organizations in the world, its mission is to improve the well-being and the quality of life of Colombian coffee producers. Under its Sustainability that Matters® programs, the FNC has developed an integral sustainability policy focused on coffee growers that includes productive, social and environmental initiatives. It also develops scientific research, technology transfer and social and industrial processes, supporting Colombian coffee production and commercialization. For more information, please visit:

www.federaciondecafeteros.org - www.cafedecolombia.com

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