It’s no surprise that coffee growers in Colombia have gone on strike to protest falling coffee prices, but the market for the beverage may have gotten so bad that the nation that’s famous for its high-quality beans is now importing coffee.
Coffee prices took a huge hit last year, with futures prices dropping nearly 37%, according to FactSet data. They followed on a 5.7% drop in 2011. On Thursday, coffee for May delivery settled at $1.435 a pound on ICE Futures, trading over 2.5% lower for the month.
National police in Colombia clashed with protestors on Tuesday, the second day of a work stoppage as the industry protests against falling production and prices for coffee, according to news reports.
Coffee output last year was 7.7 million 132-pound bags of coffee, a three-decade low and about half of what Colombia produced in 1992, according to a report dated Tuesday from news site GlobalPost, which also said the nation has fallen from third to fourth place among the world’s exporters.
“It’s gotten so bad that the land of Juan Valdez is now importing coffee, which would be akin to Saudi Arabia or Iran importing oil,” the GlobalPost report said.
Coffee crops in the nation in the last few years have been hit by heavy rains, crop disease and an overvalued national currency, the report said. Now two out of every three cups brewed in Colombia are made with beans imported from Peru and Ecuador, it said.