Colombian Coffee Plantations Experience El Niño, Risks of Frosts
Coffee Network (Bogota)- Coffee plantations in key Colombian departments have started to experience the effects of El Nino weather phenomenon with scant showers, but the weather institute warns that there are risks of frosts.
El Nino weather phenomenon is already present in the world’s third largest coffee exporter where many regions are experiencing high temperatures during the day and scant showers.
Although high solar radiation is positive for coffee plantations because it fosters the key flowering process, showers are needed afterwards.
In the southeast of Antioquia, the largest coffee-producing region in this department—the second- largest producing province, has had 15 days of sun but a mild shower was present on Thursday, insufficient to allow the flowering process to take place.
Silvia Vargas, general manager of Vargas Restrepo, which grows coffee on 300
Hectares told Coffee Network that it rained only 10 millimetres but “we are confident that more showers will take place so that we can have the flowering process.”
The country’s weather office, Ideam today said that the departments of Antioquia and Cundinamarca are running the risks of experiencing frosts, with below than average temperatures in the morning and very hot days throughout the rest of the days.
“Although it has been indicated that in a large part of the national territory there is a predominance of dry weather during January, there have been sudden changes in the weather,” Ideam said.
This reporter can testify that the effects of frosts in the eastern province of Santander have been fatal. In Santander has not rained in 25 days and forests fires have occurred as mornings have been cold while extremely high temperatures have been experienced during the day.
Frosts are fatal for coffee plantations. A coffee plant will typically recover from a frost within a year--especially with the right care. Within a frost danger zone, the low-lying areas are the most susceptible since cold air will flow down the mountains and settle in the valleys. Additionally, those plots of land that have sun exposure until sunset are more resistant to cold temperatures than those plots that are shaded for part of the afternoon. The reason for this is that the soil retains a significant amount of heat and will slowly release this heat throughout the night.
El Nino weather phenomenon is expected to last until April with the strongest effects yet to come, Ideam has noted.
Writing by Diana Delgado
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