Coffee Network (Bogota)- El Niño weather phenomenon has had positive effects across all regions in Colombia prompting coffee plantations to register intense flowerings, but the fate of the production will depend on whether favorable weather condition persists.
Coffee plantations are sucking up sun thanks to the El Niño weather phenomenon. Colombia’s dry season occurs in the first quarter but 2019's will be particularly dry and sunny due to El Nino weather phenomenon.
El Nino an abnormal warming of water in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America. El Nino usually recurs every 3-7 years with varying degrees of intensity. The intensity of the current Nino is moderate, according to the weather institute Ideam.
In Antioquia, the country’s second-largest coffee producing province, has reported an exceptionally good coffee flowering across the majority of coffee regions.
“In Antioquia, climatic conditions have favored coffee blooms due to water stress as a result of reduced rainfall compared to historical rainfall for this time of year, lower cloudiness, higher solar brightness and lower humidity in the environment. If good luminosity, solar brightness, less humidity in the environment persist during the first quarter of the year, it is expected that the plantations find suitable conditions for the process of floral differentiation to take place. and fruiting,” said Jairo Almánzar Naranjo, the director of coffee extension to the Antioquia coffee committee.
In Tolima, Colombia’s third-largest coffee producing region, flowerings have been remarkable. Tolima, which last year produced 1.75 million 60-kg bags and weights 12.82% of the country’s total coffee output, expects to increase its market share to 13.14% this year thanks to favorable weather conditions.
If conditions favor the province and the country produces around 14 million bags, it means this department could contribute with slightly more than 1.84 million bags.
In Cauca, the fourth-largest coffee producing province, el Niño has not been as strong as in other regions. The Cauca coffee committee said it registered 140 millimeters of rain in December and 135mm in January while in February and onwards it is expected that the intensity of El Niño will decrease.
“This coincides with the time of grain filling; therefore, we expect a normal grain filling,” Cauca said.
Cauca expects to record a similar harvest as the one recorded in 2018, while quality will not be affected by the weather.
Cauca picks 75% to 80% of its harvest during the first semester and 25% or 20% in the second half of the year. Cauca registered four flowerings between August and September.
Cauca has also reported some small and medium flowering events, which will result in a prolonged harvest between the end of March and the end of June of this year.
Although the conditions of an El Niño phenomenon favor the physiological process of blooms in response to water stress, there is also a risk that the development of leaves, branches and fruits will be impaired. At the end of dry periods, the defoliation of the plants accelerates, says the extension service for the Antioquia department.
“In a prolonged event of El Niño, it is necessary that coffee farmers periodically review their coffee plantations to assess the incidence levels of the roya rust, leaf miners and spider mites,” the Antioquia coffee committee said.
If the El Niño prolongs it may affect the programming of the fertilization plan, so long as the soil does not have sufficient moisture.
Lack of rainfall during the filling process of the beans could also affect the quality of beans.
The three coffee departments confirmed that they have not reported frosts as Ideam has initially indicated.
Antioquia did not predict coffee output for this year but said if favorable weather conditions persist, the province will report an improved harvest in terms of quantity and quality
Writing by Diana Delgado
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