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Colombia Sees 2012 Coffee Crop as Low as 7.5 Million Bags

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Colombia, the second-largest producer of Arabica coffee beans, may produce a smaller crop than last year because of heavy rainfall.

The harvest may be 7.5 million to 7.8 million bags of 60 kilograms (132 pounds) bags of beans this calendar year, said Andres Valencia, marketing chief at Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers. In 2011, the harvest fell 12 percent to 7.81 million bags, the lowest level since 1976.

“The crop is very similar to that of last year,” Valencia said in a phone interview in Bogota today. “The first-half harvest isn’t going to be so good.”

Rainfall last year damaged flowering and increased crop diseases in Colombia, where the harvest has failed to recover since wet weather reduced output by 32 percent in 2009. Colombia’s production shrank in February to 571,000 bags from 764,000 bags a year earlier.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to close at $1.788 a pound in New York. Prices have slumped 33 percent in 12 months.

Brazil is the largest producer of Arabica beans.

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

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

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