Farmers who left the Colombian Andes during the civil war in the South American country are now returning to revive their abandoned farms, cultivating coffee that is boosting the supply globally of the high quality beans.
The five-decade war in Colombia, the longest in all the Americas, displaced millions of people and disrupted large areas of farming in areas that produced large quantities of coffee.
The coffee farming revival in areas that were in conflict zones could help to increase the coffee output of Colombia by as much as 40%, according to estimates made by the government.
That would increase global supplies of Colombia’s Arabica beans by up to 13%.
The new supply could help lower the costs for top roasters in the world, many of whom would like to secure more supply out of Colombia.
Close to 950 former coffee growing families returned to Colombia’s San Carlos area, representing nearly 60% of the more than 1,600 families who left over the course of the war, showed data supplied by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation or FNC.
The region is located about 200 miles to the northwest of Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and could grow if additional farmers return and plant more on their land.
Currently the area has 2000 acres dedicated to coffee farms, which is double the low acreage during the war.
Arabica is the world’s highest quality coffee bean. Colombia is the top producer in the world of mild Arabica. To make it, beans are separated from the cherry then are dried and that increases its quality.
Arabica represents close to 60% of the world’s worldwide coffee supply, with robusta, a lower-quality bean, accounting for 40%.
While a certain number of coffee roasters include robusta to their secretive blends, the majority of premium blends are 100% mild Arabica.
A deal to reach peace between the Colombian government and FARC the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia during late 2016 opened the door for the return of many to their homes as well as farms, including thousands who grow coffee.
FARC, a guerrilla organization, has for decades been called a terrorist group by the government in Colombia.
Over 220,000 people were killed during the decades old war while millions were displaced. The conflict could be felt in large areas of Colombia and the government battled to exert its control over the remote areas in the highlands and jungles were the FARC had strongholds.