05 February 1999
Rescue for earthquake-victim farmers

COLOMBIA is baling out its coffee growers hit by the earthquake on 29 January with a financial package aimed at putting them back in business.

Government officials says affected areas produce about 50% of the countrys annual coffee harvest.

But the earthquake, besides destroying the crop, also damaged the infrastructure for coffee production – threshing machines, storage rooms and water supply.

The financial package totals $38 million (£23m) and will consist of long-term “soft” loans.

Concern had been growing that potential delays in restoring processing capacity would have repercussions for the countrys secondary harvest or mitaca, due to start in about six weeks.

The mitaca produces about 40% of Colombias coffee production, which last year reached 12.7m 60kg sacks, second only to Brazil.

  • Financial Times 05/02/99 page 28