Post By Bosco_Lever
News article: Severe drought threatens prized coffee crops in Colombia, farmers say
Severe drought threatens prized coffee crops in Colombia, farmers say - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Coffee growers in the Colombian Andes say a drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon is threatening their crops, some of the world's most prized coffee beans.
Raul Fajardo, 56, who grows coffee beans on the slopes of the Galeras volcano, fears the harvest "is about to be lost".
"We farmers are in total despair," he said.
His four-hectare estate is one of many in Narino, south-western Colombia, certified as a top coffee-producing region for its mellow-tasting, fine-smelling produce.
Surveying his plantation, Mr Fajardo said a recent water shortage was "stressing" his coffee plants.
The stalks have flowered and could yield a record crop, but they need more rain to do so.
"It has been nearly six months and they forecast it will be like this for five months more," Mr Fajardo said.
"That would ruin farmers in this region."
Farmers say coffee from Narino "is the best in Colombia" because the extra hours of sunlight means a higher concentration of sugar in the grain.
But extreme weather is making it an ever-greater challenge to keep producing the beans for the world's cafes.
Authorities say it is likely to worsen as of December and could last until June next year.
The unusually warm temperatures caused in the Pacific waters around the equator by El Nino typically lead to less rain in South America, and this year have caused a severe drought in Colombia.
"The worst is yet to come. The critical months will be December, January and February," Colombian environment minister Gabriel Vallejo said.
Some regions, including the Andes, are suffering a 60 per cent decrease in rainfall, according to the state environmental institute IDEAM.
"We are being hit hard by this long summer," said Gilberto Diaz, another farmer in Narino, who has been working in the coffee business for 30 years.
"Around here there are estates of just a few hectares. It is all very basic and there are no irrigation systems.
"We are having to bring water up from the gorges, and there is very little left."
How long does it take before a South American drought effects the price of South American green beans in Australia? Maybe it already has...
I love my Columbian - I love it even more now, after reading this news, knowing that I have 11+ kg sitting at home !
Gotta love it....
Excellent value for money return to the Australian taxpayer....
Hmm, my medication must be wearing off.