Colombia Update | August 2021

From a peak of over 30,000 new COVID-19 cases daily in Colombia last month, the country is now seeing closer to 7000 daily reported cases. ICU occupancy rates have also fallen from their critical peaks. The National Government as well as local ones have announced a lift on most restrictions to reactivate the economy.

With regards to the protests and street violence that ripped through Colombia in May and June: in the last 30 days there have been isolated cases in the South part of Bogotá and Cali. However, terrorist threats are a growing concern. A well planned murder attempt on Colombian President Ivan Duque was executed during a visit to the Northeastern city of Cucuta. Dissident former FARC rebels with the aid of a former Military Captain and leaked information from the President’s security staff led to an attack on the President’s helicopter while landing at Cucuta’s airport.

Months of strife have made the coffee-growing regions of Huila, Cauca and Nariño harder to visit. Our partners report that getting coffee from farms to dry mills and ports has become increasingly complex.

“We are still seeing challenges and delays in logistics from Colombia”, said Juan Manuel Alvarez, Genuine Origin’s Operations Manager. “Although Colombia has cleared their port backlog in Buenaventura, Cartagena and Santa Marta, equipment availability remains an issue. The balance of empty containers for exporters is not yet at normal levels.”

Domestic prices in Colombia have seen record levels. This is a combination of the recent C-market spike, a devaluation of Colombian currency against the dollar and a strong domestic farm gate differential. The currency’s weak performance against regional peers (such as: Peru; Chile; Brazil; and Mexico) reflects the investment downgrade by Moody’s and Fitch as well as the effects of the protests and roadblocks that paralyzed most of the export flow of goods.

Tolima is now entering the later part of the harvest. Huila, Cauca and Nariño approaching mid-harvest. Santa Marta is expecting an early start in October, with good volumes in sight.

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