Colombia has the potential to become an important agricultural power house. It has a ground surface area of 114 million hectares and 40 million (35% of the national territory) have been declared as the national agricultural frontier. There are only 8 million cultivated hectares, meaning there are significant tracts of land still available for cultivation.

Colombia has been exporting coffee for almost 200 years and, for most of that time, it has been the top export, making it a crucial part of the economy. The country has approximately 875,000 hectares planted with coffee across 590 municipalities, 14 coffee growing regions and more than 2 million citizens relying on coffee for their livelihood. Around 75% of production is exported worldwide, generating about 10-16% of the agricultural GDP. Colombia is the third largest coffee-producing country in the world, exporting roughly 13,672,000 sacks of 60 kg per year.

Why is Colombia Ideal for Growing Coffee?

Location and Climate

Colombia’s  biodiversity creates a broad palette of flavors and aromas which allow for premium pricing. Furthermore, thanks to free trade agreements and its favorable geographical location, Colombia serves well as an export hub, reaching more than 1.5 billion consumers.

One of the qualities that make Colombia perfect for coffee production is its mountainous surface. The Andes mountains cut through the country in three parallel mountain ranges. These mountains create an ideal environment for growing coffee. Colombia is also entirely within the “Coffee Belt” (the area of the world where coffee can grow).

Coffee grows best in volcanic soil, at altitudes of 1200 to 1800 meters, in places that are free of frost but receive around 80 inches of rain per year. Colombia checks all those boxes. Due to its geographical location and favorable climate, Colombia is one of the most well-suited growing regions in the world and is able to produce year round.

Harvesting method

Building on centuries of experience, Colombia has developed sustainable growing methods. The way coffee is harvested in Colombia is key to its superior quality. While some countries favor strip picking (taking all the beans off the branches, ripe as well as unripe cherries), Colombia uses the “cherry pick” method, ensuring only the fully ripe cherries are selected. Coffee pickers examine trees every 10 days and the best pickers can harvest up to 90 kilos of ripe red cherries a day.

In Colombia, each and every bean is picked by hand. Each one of the nearly 600.000 coffee producers in the country picks their whole harvest manually. And the reason is simple: only humans can tell the difference between the unripe, overripe, and green coffee beans.

100% Arabica Beans

There are two main types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Colombian coffee is made with the superior Arabica variety while many other coffee-producing countries grow the inferior Robusta. Colombia is one of the only countries that produces 100% Arabica beans. When coffee is 100% Arabica, price goes up as a direct correlation to quality.

Meet Juan Valdez

The prime example that illustrates the potential of Colombian coffee is Juan Valdez, a multinational coffeehouse chain based in Colombia that aims to promote the national product. It was created by Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers because they wanted to have their official coffeehouse brand and generate value for their growers.

The federation is owned and controlled by 500,000 farmers who grow their coffee on small farms, not plantations. Since its foundation, the federation has spent millions building the Juan Valdez brand.

Juan Valdez has 478 coffee shops and more than 90 thousand distribution points in 28 countries. The company shows no signs of slowing down with a 60.4% increase in international sales compared to the first half of 2021.

Ongresso Can Help You Invest in Colombia’s Coffe Industry

The coffee industry in Colombia has a massive growth potential, however, entering the market as a foreign investor can prove difficult when dealing with industry natives and other established stakeholders, whether they constitute the competition or potential allies. Regulations are also an obstacle, thus, working with regional experts with a local presence and network can save you a substantial amount of time and money. To successfully enter new markets, you will need a provider with local know-how will prove to be a valuable resource to lean on.

Ongresso has worked with over 100+ clients in the region and international businesses continue to choose us as a result of our industry expertise, local network, and market intelligence. Contact us to learn more about how to invest in Colombia and the potential it may hold for your business.

With a local presence of 10+ years in Colombia, Ongresso can provide you with a customized entry package, associated back-office services, and legal advice.

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