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Colombia Coffee Growers Say Rain May Damage 2011 Crop

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Coffee growers in Colombia, the world’s second-largest producer of arabica beans, said above-average rainfall may damage next year’s crop.

Output will depend on the timing and amount of rainfall, which may last through June, said Luis Genaro, chief executive officer of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. This year, the crop will be "over 9 million bags," Genaro said today at a news conference in Bogota. In October, growers estimated output of about 9.5 million bags

“Winter conditions at this time aren’t good for production,” he said, declining to give a specific forecast for next year’s crop.

Arabica-coffee prices in New York have jumped 42 percent in 12 months, in part as Colombia’s crop declined to a 33-year low in 2009. Demand worldwide for coffee is outpacing supplies this year, which may cause the price to rally further, Genaro said.

Wet weather has caused landslides and flooding in Colombia and limited the sunshine received by crops, according to statements on the website of the state-run Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies.

Colombian farmers produced 6.8 million bags in the first 10 months of the year. In November, production has surpassed 1 million bags, Genaro said.

Next year, the nation’s production may fall if rainfall lasts after February, Jose Sierra, a member of the national policy committee at the Federation of Coffee Growers, said this month. This year, he expects output to reach 9 million bags, compared with 7.8 million bags last year.

Brazil is the world’s largest producer of arabica beans. Each bag weighs 60 kilograms, or 132 pounds.

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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