Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | February 6, 2013

Government offering insurance to coffee famers hit by climate change and a weak peso.

Colombia is right now the world’s fourth largest coffee producer, overtaken of its crown by Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The government and the farmers need to adapt to changing times.

After three years of bad weather and a recent slump in international bean prices, the Colombian government is launching an insurance plan to protect coffee plantations hit by climate change.

The insurance plan, financed with around US$16.5 million, will shield 96 percent of the country’s 500,000 growers who have less than five hectares in coffee beans. Sixty percent of the money will be managed by Finagro, a government-run credit agency for the agricultural and rural sector.

Coffee crops were hit with dry weather from September 2009 to April 2010 due to El Niño, which then shifted to the torrential downpours of La Niña in the second half of 2010 until April this year. The insurance will only cover plantations damaged by hailstorms, landslides, excessive rainfall or extreme droughts. The change in weather patterns has also caused plagues and epidemics.

Farmers have also been affected by the peso currency, which has strengthened more than 6 percent in 2012, as well as a 40-per-cent slump in the domestic coffee price since the start of the year.

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