Sluggish demand in the European market on account of economic slowdown, incidence of pest attacks and an erratic monsoon have taken a toll on coffee exports as well as production in the just ended calendar year.

Sources in the Coffee Board told The Hindu that coffee exports dropped by 9.35 per cent in 2012 (January to December) to 3.10 lakh tonnes as compared to 3.42 lakh tonnes during the previous calendar year. It is now estimated that coffee production in 2012-13 will be 3.15 lakh tonnes against the original post-blossom estimate of 3.25 lakh tonnes. Among the reasons attributed for the decline in production are the above normal berry drop during the monsoon period apart from the pest attacks in certain pockets of the coffee growing areas.

The post-monsoon crop estimate for Karnataka is 2.27 lakh tonnes, Kerala 63,825 tonnes, Tamil Nadu 17,750 tonnes, non-traditional areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha 6,525 tonnes and north eastern region 195 tonnes.

Coffee exports in rupee terms was down by 1.96 per cent at Rs.4,728.71 crore in 2012 against Rs.4,823.48 crore in 2011. In dollar terms, it was down 11.19 per cent at $926.27 million against $1,043 million. In terms of unit value, it was Rs.1,52,104 against Rs.1,40,645 a tonne a year ago. Exports in October-December of the crop year 2012-13 were also down by 16.53 per cent at 47,159 tonnes against 56,499 tonnes in the year-ago period. The unit value was Rs.163,593 a tonne.

According to the Karnataka Planters’ Association, India is the seventh largest producer of coffee accounting for only 4 per cent of the world’s output. In 2011, India produced 5.3 million bags (60 kg). However, in shipments, India is the fifth largest exporter accounting for 5.6 per cent of the world market. India exports about 70 per cent of the total domestic production.

During 2011-12, Brazil produced 33 per cent of the world’s coffee though in the off year, followed by Vietnam (15.2 per cent), Indonesia (6.3 per cent), and Colombia (5.9 per cent). India was pushed to the seventh position from the sixth. Domestic demand for coffee was around 1.15 lakh tonnes.

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