Colombia, the world's leading producer of mild washed Arabica coffee, produced 43,000 60-kilogram bags in April. This was a 13 per cent increase compared to the 924,000 bags produced during April 2015. Between January and April 2016, Colombian coffee production increased 10 per cent by reaching a total of 4.2 million bags.
The increase in production is the result of the coffee crop renovation initiatives led by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), which have increased the productivity of Colombian coffee growing and the amount of young crops. However, the devastation caused by El Niño has led to a drop in Excelso coffee Exports. During the past twelve months (May 2015-April 2016), production reached nearly 14.6 million 60-kilogram bags. This entailed a 17 per cent increase compared to the 12.4 million bags produced during the same previous period. Colombian coffee exports decreased 5 per cent in April by reaching a total of 906 thousand 60-kilogram bags. This decline was largely due to the impact of El Niño phenomenon, which has led to the accumulation of lower quality beans in the warehouses of Almacafé. To give a sense of this, the amount of lower quality beans stored in Almacafé increased 35 per cent between January and April. Year to date exports reached nearly 4.2 million bags, meaning a 9 per cent increase compared to the 3,9 million bags sold in international markets between January and April 2015. During the past twelve months (May 2015-April 2016), Colombian coffee exports reached nearly 13.1 million bags. This was an 18 per cent increase compared to the 11.1 million 60-kilogram bags exported during the same previous period. Meanwhile, the quality standards for Excelso export Colombian coffee were modified during the last session of the National Coffee Growers Committee with the aim of boosting exports and aligning them to international standards. Although the Green Coffee Association of New York's standards catalog Colombian beans that pass through a screen of 14/64 and have a 5 per cent tolerance as Excelso Colombian coffee, Colombia had traditionally self-imposed a 1.5% maximum tolerance. This, naturally, prevented the export of a significant amount of high quality beans. According to Resolution 2, adopted on April 25 2016 by the National Coffee Growers Committee, exporters will now be able to export Excelso coffee with a tolerance of up to 5% of healthy almonds that pass through a screen of 14/64 and are retained by a screen of 12/64. All other minimum quality standards in terms of humidity, defective beans, infestation, odor, color and cup test still apply. The measures enacted by the National Coffee Growers Committee must be followed both by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and by individual exporters.
Resolution 2 also modified the labeling for export Excelso Colombian coffee. As long as coffee meets the minimum standards for being considered Excelso, it’s no longer necessary to describe the bean's size and amount of defective beans in the label. The label will simply say “Excelso” “Café de Colombia”. The FNC will issue a quality certificate for this specific type of coffee.