Colombia Coffee Crop to Miss Forecast, Regional Leader Says

Colombia, the second-largest supplier of Arabica coffee, will produce about 2.6 percent less of the beans than forecast because of wet, cold weather and a lack of sunshine, according to a growers’ leader.

Farmers in Antioquia, Colombia’s largest coffee-growing province, probably will produce half as much coffee in 2011 as last year, or as few as 7.8 million bags, Jose Sierra, a member of a committee representing the region’s farmers, said today in Bogota.

“The winter is still doing its thing,” Sierra said in an interview at a meeting of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. “The rain hasn’t stopped.”

Coffee has climbed about 12 percent in 12 months partly because of lower supplies from Colombia. Production this year likely will be similar to the South American country’s 2009 harvest when output fell to a 33-year low, Sierra said. The federation, which cut its estimate twice last month, forecasts 8 million bags of production.

Next year, farmers will have a “very hard” time increasing the crop if adverse weather persists, the federation’s Chief Executive Officer Luis Munoz said this week. Weather pattern La Nina, which has triggered above-average rains, may last “at least” through the first quarter, he said.

Last year Colombia produced 8.9 million bags of coffee. Each bag of coffee weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

Brazil is the largest producer of Arabica beans.

Arabica coffee for March delivery fell 3.4 percent to $2.2760 a pound at 12:11 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Walsh in Bogota at hlwalsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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