Colombia is one of the largest coffee producers in the world and, this week, the first-ever World Coffee Producers Forum was organized in the city of Medellin from July 10 to the 12. This high-level Forum brought together coffee producers and exporters from throughout the world as well as business and political leaders in order to discuss the challenges facing the agricultural industry in general and the coffee sector in particular in the short and medium term. Some of the key speakers at the event included former United States President Bill Clinton, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. Similarly, major players of the coffee industry from Africa, Asia, and Latin America hosted roundtables discussion on issues such as the effects of global climate variations on bean production, sustainable rural development, and global price volatility in coffee markets.
Coffee is just one of several agribusiness sectors that play a key role within the economy of developing nations; however, it is a major one. Likewise, demand for coffee is on the rise with projections pointing towards a global need of 50 million additional coffee bags annually within the next decade. Furthermore, it is estimated that the coffee industry provides employment and sustenance to more than 25 million families worldwide. Therefore, international development organizations, particularly the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), took part in the World Coffee Producers Forum, given the importance of this agricultural sector to the continued development of Latin America. Similarly, attracting international investors towards agribusiness opportunities in Colombia remains a priority for both the national government and the private sector. The importance to the Colombian economy is further evidenced by the participation of ProColombia, the government agency in charge of promoting international tourism, national exports, and foreign investment. In this regard, investors can consider coffee operations, which represent a well-established industry within Colombia, as well as teak operations, which are an upcoming agricultural asset and hold great promise for the future.
Coffee Producers Forum and Investment in Colombia
The teak industry is a promising investment sector within agribusiness in Colombia. Currently, of the estimated 4.0 million hectares of commercial teak plantations throughout the world (this figure does not include natural forests), approximately 80% are in Asia, 13% in Africa, and 7% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nevertheless, Latin America is the region that has experienced the most growth in recent decades. Back in 1975, Colombia had about 560 hectares of teak within its territory, yet this amount had increased to some 1.710 hectares by 1995. Likewise, the Latin American region as a whole went from approximately 14.000 hectares of teak in 1979, to more than 33.000 hectares in 1995, and close to 250.000 hectares in 2010. Throughout the last two decades, teak planting and reforestation in Latin America has advanced at a pace of 14.000 hectares annually.