Colombian Coffee Growers Federation to tackle climate change at 76th Congress

Climate change issues will be a highlight of discussions at the 76th National Congress of Colombian Coffee Growers, taking place from 30 November to 2 December at the group's headquarters in Bogota.  The event will see 120 delegates and representatives, elected by the country's coffee growers, gather to review the year. In an editorial released on the group's web site ahead of the congress, Chief Executive Luis Munoz Ortega commented on climate change, noting that the El Niño and La Niña phenomena have had an evident impact on Colombia's precipitation problems. He notes that the greater part of 2010 and 2011 saw excessive rainfall that led to the rise of rust disease, eroded coffee soils and considerably harmed overall crop productivity. He also noted that roads were compromised, as well as the homes of certain coffee towns. In the editorial, Ortega pointed to a loss of nearly 100 days worth of sunlight in a year, equivalent to 20 to 30 per cent. He says this provides less solar energy which affects the plant's photosynthesis. “Awareness of a more humid average climate in our planning stages will become a necessity, with a greater frequency and intensity in the La Niña phenomenon, which brings to Colombia and a good section of Central America an increase in the volume of rainfall,” he says. “Fortunately, we have not been wasting our time. The display of varieties such as Castillo, more productive and resistant to fungi such as rust, contributes to support producers with better fitted trees for this kind of humid scenarios.” In addition to climate change, the Congress will also look at programs on productive, economic, social, commercial, and brand issues. The meeting will also welcome Colombia's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Juan C. Restrepo; the Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Juan C. Echeverry; and the Director of the National Planning Department, Hernando J. Gómez. Image courtesy Café de Colombia

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