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Colombia coffee crop seen around 14 million bags in 2019, helped by El Niño

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Colombia's coffee harvest will remain at around 14 million 60-kg bags of washed arabica in 2019, the coffee-growers' federation said on Wednesday, possibly helped by dry weather caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

[BOGOTA] Colombia's coffee harvest will remain at around 14 million 60-kg bags of washed arabica in 2019, the coffee-growers' federation said on Wednesday, possibly helped by dry weather caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

The government has said El Niño could reduce rainfall in Colombia by 80 per cent in the first quarter of next year, causing water shortages and forest fires.

"In 2019 we could have a better coffee year, if the climate favors us. A moderate El Niño phenomenon could help coffee-growing," federation head Roberto Velez told journalists on the sidelines of the group's annual conference in Bogota. "If that's the case we could return to 14 million or 14.2 million bags."

"If it's a moderate El Niño phenomenon, of a short duration, until March or April, we'll surely have coffee trees with good hydrological stress that flower and produce more."

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Velez added that he expects production of between 13.8 million and 13.9 million bags in 2018, the fourth consecutive year that output has been around 14 million bags. Exports will be about 13 million bags this year, he said.

El Niño is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific. In Colombia it is associated with crop damage and flash floods, while in other countries it can cause intense rain.

REUTERS