The Coffee Crisis in Colombia, by Yanis Iqbal

Colombia Coffee

Image by Belinda Grasnick via Flickr

by Yanis Iqbal
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Aligarh, India
July 13, 2020

With the unabated march of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic situation of Colombian coffee farmers is rapidly deteriorating. The price of Arabica coffee has reduced to an exceptionally low $0.9 per pound in June. Earlier, coffee production had fallen by 28% in April, 12% in March, 9% in February and 19% in January. Specialty coffee farmers too are experiencing difficulties in the form of shortage of experienced coffee pickers. In specialty coffee, coffee cherries are picked at the peak of ripeness. But with the absence of expert pickers, “Coffee cherries left on the tree will over-ripen or fall to the ground, effectively nullifying all the additional work put into the coffee to achieve the higher quality.” This labor shortage has been partly caused by the pandemic-necessitated closure of Colombia-Venezuela border which has significantly blocked the flow of Venezuelan migrants. 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants reside in Colombia and their contribution to Colombian coffee sector is indispensably important with nine out of ten coffee pickers in Colombia being Venezuelans.

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