Colombian coffee growers see export revenue rise 58 percent

Colombian coffee export revenue rose 58 percent to US$1.6 billion (Ђ1.36 billion) in the 2004-2005 coffee season _ the highest in seven years _ due to higher global prices and increased production of organic and gourmet beans, officials said Wednesday.

"It was a year of recovery for the coffee sector," Gabriel Silva, head of Colombia's National Coffee Federation, said at the organization's annual conference in Bogota.

Prices averaged US$1.14 per pound in the 2004-2005 coffee season, which runs from October to September, up from 77 cents per pound in the 2003-2004 season.

The increase follows a five-year price slump due to global overproduction that impoverished coffee farmers worldwide.

Silva said Colombia is increasingly focusing on producing high-quality organic beans that earn a greater profit.

Despite the revenue increase, Colombian coffee producers lost US$120 million (Ђ102 million) this year because of the weakness of the U.S. dollar against the Colombian peso, Silva said.

Coffee is Colombia's third-largest export after oil and coal, AP reported. V.A.

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