|Good Colombian arabica coffee beans, green on left and roasted on the right.|
Colombia is no longer coffee country. Oh, sure, Colombia will continue producing coffee, coffee will continue being an important crop, and, hopefully, the country will long be known for high-quality arabica coffee.
|A German-language banner announces 'The best coffee |
of Colombia' from Cafe de la Fonda.
- sometimes from as far away as Vietnam.)
But, Colombia's no longer coffee country for a second, also unfortunate reason: it's becoming an oil country.
|Juan Valdez, the brand created by Colombia's |
cooperative of coffee farmers.
But, while oil may be worth more, this is still a bad deal for Colombia. According to coffee organizations, some 560,000 families, or several million people, grow coffee in Colombia. Having a coffee farm is proud, healthy way of life (as long as they don't use too many pesticides). And, when the coffee is shade grown, it can contribute to biodiversity. In contrast, fossil fuel production, with its huge machines, provides few jobs, often feeds corruption, and I won't even touch on its environmental impacts except to point out that global warming is damaging Colombia's coffee farms.
A petroleum-based economy is also bad for democracy, as a glance at Venezuela's ailing democracy and the dictatorships in many Middle Eastern nations shows.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours