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Coffee harvest outlook dim as rains play truant

Chikkamagaluru: Coffee output in FY24 may fall short of the Coffee Board’s estimates by a substantial 25-30% margin, the Karnataka Planters’ Association informed the media on Thursday.

The announcement was made prior to the Association’s 65th annual general meet. For Karnataka, which accounts for over 70% of total coffee output in the country, the estimated figure stands as 2,66,885 million tonnes for the ongoing financial year.

In its post blossom estimate, the Coffee Board of India has projected a total of 3,74,200 million tonnes in coffee production across India in FY 2023-24. This would mark a 6.3% growth on the 3,52,000 million tonnes delivered last fiscal.

The planters body blamed erratic rain showers through the year, for the dim outlook. Unseasonal heavy rains in January earlier this year resulted in immature bud initiation for a small percentage of the plantation crop. Furthermore, there has been an average decline of 20-30% in rainfall this year, if we compare with a 3 year period, said Dr Kurian Raphael, who heads research and development at Tata Coffee.

In addition, reports suggest that Brazil is headed for a bumper crop yield this year, which is expected to impact prices at home. The Latin American country is the leading producer of the bean, accounting for about 40% of global coffee output.

India on the other hand exports around 70% of total coffee produced to rank amongst the top-10 contributors in the global coffee market.

Prices across categories of coffee have been on a decline since the past six months, according to International Coffee Organisation’s indicator price data.

Tea prices have also witnessed a decline this year, faring well below the cost of production. The primary reason has been excess domestic supply and lower global export demand, the association said.

Other factors impacting the coffee industry include surging fertiliser and other input costs leading to higher production bills, labour shortage, deepening man-animal conflict, power constraints and access to cheap capital.

(Published 09 November 2023, 23:24 IST)

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