Output of coffee rose 17% to 14.2 million bags in 2015
Younger, disease-resistant trees curbed `coffee rust' spread
By Andrew Willis
Colombia’s 2015 coffee output was the largest in 23 years as a program to replace older, disease-prone trees helped the Andean nation overcome a leaf fungus that plagued farmers.
Production of the nation’s mild arabica beans reached 14.2 million 60-kilogram bags last year, a rise of 17 percent over 2014, the national federation of coffee growers said in its monthly harvest report. The crop had slumped to as low as 7.7 million bags in 2012, amid an outbreak of leaf-attacking fungus known as coffee rust.
Since then the federation has backed a planting program to replace vulnerable trees with more resistant varieties. Colombia is the world’s third-biggest coffee producer, whose arabica beans sell at a premium to most other coffees on world markets.
“Coffee farmers and the government have managed to once again make Colombia an important player in the international market,” federation General Manager Roberto Velez said in an e-mailed statement.