India’s Arabica coffee 30% and Robusta coffee 20% production drops due to heavy rain
According to data provided by the planters’ community, India’s arabica coffee production will drop by 30% and robusta coffee production will drop by 20% this harvest season ending in January due to excessive rainfall, plant damage, bean splitting, and berry dropping.
As per the Coffee Board’s post-monsoon forecast, arabica production in India is expected to be 99,000 metric tonnes, while robusta production is expected to be 2.35 lakh metric tonnes for the current crop year 2021.
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However, continuous rains since September have caused significant damage to coffee plantations, reducing yields in arabica (30%) and robusta (20%), according to the Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA), which represents more than 80% of coffee growers in the country.
‘Heavy rainfall affected coffee plantations throughout the country. Due to early flowering rains in February, the crop was ready for harvest in October rather than November. A large number of berries are spitting open or falling down right now before harvest time,’ said KPA chairman S. Appadurai.
Production costs are rising
In addition, the cost of coffee production has risen by 10% to 15% per year due to rising wages and input costs. The cost of producing an acre of arabica coffee was in the ₹50,000 – ₹55,000 range three years ago, but it has now risen to ₹85,000/acre. According to KPA, the cost of producing robusta increased from ₹30,000 to ₹60,000 per acre.
The yield has also decreased significantly due to the vagaries of nature and plant loss due to white-stem borer disease. For example, a per-acre arabica plantation now yields only 200 to 250 kg of coffee, compared to 400 to 500 kg a few years ago. 450 to 500 kg of robusta coffee is grown per acre, up from 600 kg previously.
The Brazilian frost-caused supply shortage and price increase in international coffee markets provided some relief to Indian coffee growers who had been facing existential crises.
As an outcome, arabica prices have risen to ₹12,500 to ₹13,000 per 50 kg bag, up from ₹9,000 to ₹9,500 during the previous coffee season. The price of robusta, on the other hand, remains in the ₹6,000 per 50 kg range.
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‘We foresee this price trend is likely to continue throughout the season with no significant fluctuations until the majority of our crop is shipped by March next year,’ said R Rajah, president of the Coffee Exporters Association of India.