Coffee Crop in Colombia Shrinks 41 Percent After Rainstorms

Coffee production in Colombia, the world’s second-largest supplier of Arabica beans after Brazil, shrank 41 percent in January after storms last year increased disease and damaged plants.

Production slid to 535,000 bags from 908,000 bags of 60 kilograms (132 pounds) each in January 2011, based on data published by Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. The group didn’t break out monthly output, which was calculated from 12-month output it reported in a statement yesterday.

Colombia is struggling to stem a slide in its harvest after above-average rainfall pushed the crop last year to the lowest level since 1976. Exports declined 16 percent to 715,000 bags in January, according to federation figures.

The nation dotted with farms on high mountain ranges is planting disease-resistant coffee plants to improve its harvest, the group said. The crop last year fell 12 percent to 7.81 million bags, missing growers’ November target of about 8 million bags.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery yesterday dropped 1.8 percent to $2.16 a pound, the biggest decline in almost three weeks.

Arabica coffee is grown mainly in Latin America and favored by brewers such as Starbucks Corp.

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