Bavaria to Boost Colombian Barley Imports


Apr 27, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Consumption of Barley in Colombia reached 370 thousand metric tons in 2019, up from 360 thousand metric tons the year before. The domestic consumption of this grain has been on the incline since 2016. Most of the Barley consumed in Colombia came from imported sources, which amounted to 350 thousand metric tons in 2019.

According to a report from the National Federation of Cereal, Legume and Soybean Growers (Fenalce), among the most recent figures that comprise the period from January to October 2022, Colombia imported 277,400 tons of Barley with an average cost of COP 1.4 million pesos (about 295 US dollars, at the current exchange rate).

Colombia practically imports 100 percent of its demand for malting Barley, according to the data released. Since 1991, the country has not exceeded the threshold of 100,000 tons of Barley produced yearly. The apparent consumption of this cereal is 350,000 tons, but the country only produced 4,800 tons between January and October 2022.

According to AgFlow data, Argentina shipped 84,000 tons of Barley to Colombia in Q1 2023. In 2021, Colombia imported Barley worth $98.1 million, becoming the world’s 25th largest importer of Barley. In the same year, Barley was Colombia’s 142nd most imported product. Colombia imports Barley primarily from: Argentina ($59.2 million), France ($33.3 million), Denmark ($5.54 million), and the United States ($8.72k).

New Barley Processing Plant in Colombia

Bavaria, AB InBev’s brewer in Colombia, will construct a new brewery in the northern region municipality of Palmar de Varela (Atlántico). The new facility will operate from mid-2024. The investment being made by Bavaria amounts to around $413 million.

After the announcement, Sergio Rincón, President of Bavaria, indicated: “With this new plant, the Company is betting in the long term on a significant expansion of the industry. The brewery will produce the national brands most loved by Colombians, such as Águila, Poker, and Club Colombia, among others”. During the construction stage, more than 1,500 jobs will be generated, and later, during the operation of the plant, 350 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs.

This new brewery will be built with the highest environmental standards to advance sustainability goals by 2025. It is expected that this plant, from its start-up, will be supplied with 100% solar-purchased electricity. Likewise, this becomes one of the projects that drive the company to achieve an ambition by 2040 to reach zero net emissions throughout the value chain.

The announced equipment is added to the seven breweries, two malt shops, and the label and lid factory Bavaria has throughout the national territory. With this commitment, the company’s presence in the country is increased, which also represents a vote of confidence from the industry for the future of Colombia.

Bavaria’s agricultural program manager stated: We bought more than 150,000 tons of Colombian Barley, especially in areas of the Cundiboyacense highlands. However, this Barley did not have a good quality for the brewing process and was only suitable for producing animal products or the traditional cuchuco soups. Importing Barley from Canada, Argentina, or certain European countries was cheaper.

The company has seven breweries in Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Itagüí, Yumbo, Tibasosa, and Tocancipá. It also has two malts, one in Cartagena and another in Tibitó, apart from a label factory in Yumbo. The company is a source of employment for more than 4,000 employees and generates around 80,000 indirect jobs. It has been operating in the country for 133 years and was recently recognized by the Merco Empresas ranking as one of the five companies most loved by Colombians.

Other sources: ENALIMENTOS

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