Colombia Economic Sectors

By | December 15, 2021

Livestock breeding. – Livestock farming has the potential for great development, as it has vast areas of land that are very suitable for it (Atlantic lowlands, Magdalena valleys and its main tributaries, eastern Colombia). The Colombian livestock patrimony in 1927 was made up as follows: 978,000 horses; donkeys, 157,000; mules, 346,000; cattle 6,727,000; sheep, 771,000; goats 407,000; pigs, 1,366,000. Given the morphology of the country and the scarcity of means of communication and rapid transport, the breeding of pack animals is flourishing, as shown by the relatively high number of horses, especially mules. The skins that are widely exported (for 3.5 million gold pesos in 1927) are the main product of livestock farming.

Mining and industrial production. – Colombia is the second country in the world, after Russia, for the production of platinum, which is found in the Chocó (Atrato and S. Juan basins) and then also in the coastal area on the border with Ecuador and on the W flank of the Eastern Cordillera. The production, which was 1430 kg. in 1926, it rose to 1866 in 1927 (worth 3.5 million pesos gold), and is mostly exported from Buenaventura and Cartagena. Considerable is also the production and export of gold, which is extracted especially in the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Nariño, Cauca and in the Intendenza del Chocó. Total production was 2200 kilograms in 1927 and 2250 in 1928. Some silver is mined in the Tolima department. Copper, often gold-bearing, is abundant in the departments of Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Caldas, Huila, Tolima and in Chocó: but it is still very little exploited. Large quantities of iron ore have been discovered and are being exploited at the Ferreria de Amagá (Antioquia), in various locations in the department of Cundinamarca and in the departments of Cauca and Boyacá. For Colombia 2007, please check

For coal, still very little exploited, it seems that Colombia is the most favored country in South America, since it is estimated that it can dispose of it for 27 billion tons. The very superficial geological investigation of a large part of the country cannot give much value to this calculation: however, it is certain that hard coal is very abundant in the Antioquia department, in the lower Magdalena region, in Goajira, in the area surrounding the Gulf of Urabá, in the Eastern Cordillera (department of Cundiuamarca) and in the departments of Valle, Nariño and Boyacá. The mines in operation are numerous, but the production is only for internal consumption. The steel industry is in its infancy, and mainly produces agricultural machinery.

Another great wealth of Colombia is oil. American geologists have calculated that Colombian oil fields cover an area of ​​approximately 65,000 sq km. and can give 1.8 billion to 2.7 billion barrels of the precious fuel. The most important oil areas are: that of the Atlantic, between the Gulf of Urabá and the Magdalena, perhaps 25,000 sq km wide; the area of ​​the Atrato up to Quibdó, 3000 sq km wide; the Magdalena area, from Calamar to Girardot and Ibagué; the Catatumbo area, in N. di Cúcuta; the Pacific area, between Buenaventura and the Ecuadorian border: the Caquetá and Putumayo area.

The presence of oil in Colombia, in the Urabá region, was known in 1887; in 1904 the deposits of Río Catatumbo were discovered, then, in 1905, those located between Carare and Sogamoso (Magdalena). In 1915 the drilling of wells began in various locations in the departments of Bolívar, Atlántico, Santander Sur and Santander Norte, Tolima and Cundinamarca: but the oil industry had a very slow development at first, again due to the lack of communication routes. and transport. A 575 km long pipeline. it was inaugurated in 1926; it goes from Galán, near Barranca Bermeja (Santander Sur), where are the wells of Tropical Oil Co., the most important of the numerous companies that exploit Colombian oil, to Mamonal, near Cartagena; another pipeline of about 27 km. runs from El Centro to Galán. Through these pipelines, 15,000 barrels of oil per day can be loaded onto ships in Mamonal. In Barranca Bermeja, which is currently the country’s most important oil center, the Tropical Oil Company owns a refinery that can process 2000 barrels of oil daily; and then, mechanical workshops, tanks, etc.

Total production had a great boost from the construction of the oil pipeline: from 150,000 tons. metrics in 1925 rose to 2,086,000 tons. in 1927: so that Colombia is already in 8th place in world production, and in 2nd place among the South American states, after Venezuela. In the same year 1927 Colombia, out of a total export value of 128 million gold pesos, already exported oil for over 24 million. The United States is the largest buyer.

Colombia has been famous since the time of the conquest for its beautiful emeralds, of which there are the main mines in the Boyacá department, including the very famous ones of Muzo, worked since the second half of the century. XVI.

The Colombian government derives considerable income from the exploitation of the rock salt mines in the Cundinamarca department and the Meta administration. In the first, the largest is that of Zipaquirá, where there is an enormous salt deposit which is estimated to have a volume of 435 million cubic meters, corresponding by weight to over 980 million tons. Zipaquirá rock salt contains, on average, 89% sodium chloride.

Speaking of agricultural and mining products, we have already had the opportunity to mention the main Colombian industries, which for the moment are very limited. Two other small industries will be mentioned here: that of the so-called Panamá hats, manufactured in Nariño with the fibers of the leaves of the Carludovica palmata and exported to the United States, Great Britain and various South American states; and the footwear industry (Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Barranquilla).

When the very serious problem of communications is completely resolved, the Colombian industry for some of its branches will have great opportunities for development, both for the abundance of raw materials and for the wealth of fuels and water energy. This is still very little exploited: but it is estimated that the country can dispose of 4 million HP.

Commerce. – The conditions of relief and climate, very different between the various parts of the country, explain the activity of internal traffic. Bogotá flours go to supply Barranquilla, while the northern lowland sends its cattle and cotton to Bogotá and Medellín; the tierras calientes send tropical products to the higher, more densely populated regions, from which they have in return temperate zone products and manufactured objects.

From what has been said so far, it has already been possible to have an idea of ​​Colombian trade with foreign countries. To complete the picture, it will be added that both imports and exports are growing rapidly from one year to the next: the value of the former was about 42 million gold pesos in 1922, and rose to almost 126 million in 1927; the value of the latter was respectively 126 and 130 million. We have already seen that the main exported product is coffee (1927, value 90.4 million pesos gold), followed by oil (24.3 million), bananas (5.5 million), platinum (3.5 million), skins (3.5 million) and gold (1.4 million). Mainly agricultural machinery, machinery for mining and other large industries, live animals, weapons, ammunition, cars, glassware, drugs, items for electrical systems, musical instruments, paper, perfumes, textiles, spirits, etc. are imported. The United States has absorbed about half of its imports and 80% of its exports in recent years. They are followed by Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Holland, whose trade with Colombia is essentially imported. Italy imports fabrics, hats, cars, wines and spirits, etc. into Colombia, for a total value which in 1927 was 4, pesos gold; the export has a negligible value.

Colombia Economic Sectors