November 28, 2017 / 7:22 PM / a year ago

Nespresso expands coffee purchases in post-conflict Colombian zone

Nov 28 (Reuters) - Nestle Nespresso said on Tuesday it will increase the amount of coffee it buys by up to five times in a post-conflict zone of Colombia in 2018, as it expands into regions previously inaccessible due to the longest civil war in the Americas.

A peace deal between the Colombian government and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in late 2016, following the five-decade war, paved the way for many to return to their homes and farms, including thousands of coffee growers.

Colombia is the world’s biggest producer of mild arabica beans, some of the highest quality coffee. In 2016, Nespresso bought its first coffee from a post-conflict region of Colombia - Caquetá - and launched it this year as a limited edition called “Aurora de la Paz,” which translates as “Dawn of Peace.”

Early indications suggest Nespresso will buy up to five times more coffee from Caquetá in 2018 than in 2016 as it expands into areas that were inaccessible prior to the peace agreement, the company said in a release.

It did not provide the amount of coffee being purchased.

The Colombian government has estimated that the revival of coffee farming in the former conflict zones could help boost the country’s output by 40 percent by 2020, which if realized would raise global supplies of mild arabica beans by about 13 percent.

Nespresso’s coffee-sourcing expansion into several regions formerly impacted by conflict is part of a $50 million investment for “sustainable quality coffee production” in Colombia, the company said.

Nespresso said it bought coffee from roughly 1,000 producers in Caquetá in 2016. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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