Coffee industry in Latin America – Statistics & Facts

There are few crops in the world able to claim such a global and undisputable popularity as coffee. Despite the plant being discovered in Ethiopia centuries ago, in modern days the global coffee scene revolves around Latin America. Coffee is a big market in the region, as many countries both produce and heavily consume it. In fact, Latin America accounted for nearly two thirds of worldwide coffee production in 2018.

Brazil is by far the largest global producer of coffee, with more than double the production of runner-up Vietnam. Throughout the years, Brazilian coffee production has remained relatively stable, with an annual output of more than 2.5 million metric tons. The crop represented more than six percent of the agricultural production value in the country in 2018. And despite the focus on foreign trade, which makes Brazil the largest coffee exporter in the world - with exports amounting to nearly four billion U.S. dollars - the country’s consumption has also been continuously increasing in the past years.

Colombia, in turn, has seen a strong increase in production in recent years, with the annual coffee output nearly doubling between 2012 and 2015. This has consolidated the nation as the second largest producer in the region. In terms of consumption, although figures have been annually increasing, it added up to less than two million bags in the 2018/19 marketing year, approximately 15 percent of the national production. Roasted ground coffee was preferred by Colombians over soluble coffee, representing three quarters of the consumption volume.

Similarly, Honduras has shown a rapid increase in green coffee production since 2016, reaching in recent years an output comparable to that of Ethiopia. Regardless of the considerably smaller land area, Honduras and other Central American countries, such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador stand out as leading producers in Latin America.

Despite the sizable regional consumption, exports of Latin American coffee are still mainly directed to the northern hemisphere. The U.S. is the leading destination for both Brazilian and Mexican exports, while France and Japan are the main international markets for Ecuadorian coffee. European countries such as Germany, Italy and Belgium also rank amongst the biggest importers of Latin American coffee.

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Coffee market in Latin America

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