Colombia continues to be hit by heavy rains caused by “La Nina” phenomenon.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number:
Colombia’s agriculture sector and roads are being severely
Trade Policy Incident Report
Joseph Lopez, Agricultural Counselor
Juan Sebastian Diaz, Agricultural Specialist
Colombia continues to be hit by heavy rains caused by “La Nina” phenomenon. Several agricultural
areas are being impacted due massive flooding and poor road conditions. As a result, the quality of
agricultural products and production levels are suffering.
Due to “la Niña” weather phenomenon, Colombia continues to undergo the impact of the largest rainy
period ever recorded. According to our sources, the disaster has already cost Colombia $5.8 billion over
the past two years, and as reported recently, during the last quarter of 2011 precipitations have affected
directly more than 400,000 people in 27 out of 32 departments (states) of Colombia.
In addition, sources indicate that over the past two years, the agricultural area affected by “la Nina”
increased over 800,000 hectares. The cattle industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors, losing
around $1.5 billion. Also, dairy production declined by one million liters which represents $421.000
losses per day. Major events combined have caused dairy plants to reduce their activities by 40 percent.
Thus, the Cattle Industry Federation (FEDEGAN) is currently asking the Government of Colombia for a
tax exemption program for those cattle farmers affected by the floods. FEDEGAN’s President stated
that flooded meadows will take at least a year to recover, and that Boyacá and Cundinamarca where the
largest dairy industry is located have more than 1,000 farms completely flooded.
Moreover, our sources indicate production numbers have decreased for most agricultural products.
However, paradoxically, the reduction in the food supply has not affected the prices during the third
quarter of 2011, due primarily to: 1) farmers having pushed their crops to harvest before the rainy
season, losing some quality of products and 2) farmers being forced to sell the products in the regional
markets due to the poor road condition.
Source: ECON section U.S. Embassy Bogota
Finally, it is expected that food prices will increase during December as a result of crop damages, the
collapse of road infrastructure and an increase in freight rates of up to 30 percent. In addition, the
National Highway Police indicated that currently there are eight major highways and 20 secondary and
tertiary roads closed. Furthermore, the road connecting the port of Buenaventura to Bogota is not
operating at full capacity due to recurring landslides; this road transports 120.000 tons of cargo daily.
Finally, our source indicated the alternative route will add an extra five hours to the travel time which
would result in daily commercial losses of $5 million per day.