India to launch coffee consumption drive

The World Coffee Producers Forum has decided to reach out to the coffee consuming countries around the world.

India will plan and roll out a coffee consumption campaign on behalf of global coffee growers who suffered huge financial losses on account of falling coffee prices and soaring labour cost.

The context is that coffee growers around the globe are going paupers and turning poverty stricken. As per International Coffee Organization (ICO), 25 million farmers, including more than 3,00,000 in India, produce coffee in 60 counties. Over 90% of these growers are smallholders and are forced to sell their coffees at a price much below the cost of production. This scenario has led to socio-economic issues. These growers and their families have gone deeper into debts. Many even have abandoned their farms and migrated to cities.

To bring world coffee producers, including Indian growers, out of this appalling situation, The World Coffee Producers Forum has decided to reach out to the coffee consuming countries around the world.

As a precursor to this, India, which has a domestic consumption of more than 5 million bags (of 60 kg each) will kick off a five-year coffee consumption campaign in collaboration with top global roasters including Nestle and Starbucks, cafe chains, other stakeholders and the Government of India.

Anil Kumar Bhandari, president of India Coffee Trust and also chairman of Private Sector Consultative Board of ICO told The Hindu that, a special entity would be formed to execute this country-wide coffee campaign. The plan is to get most of the funding from international roasters while ICO will play a catalyst’s role.

The campaign will address a population of 450 million, mostly school and college students, in India. Carlos Brando, who ran various coffee projects in more than 50 countries — including Brazil’s famous coffee campaign that significantly pushed up the country’s consumption in 1990 — will be actively involved in the India campaign that will be ready for launch by mid 2020.

‘Demand-supply issue’

“There is a huge demand-supply imbalance that currently exists in the global coffee markets. That’s the root cause for price fall. Increasing the consumption is the only way to counter this and therefore demand for the commodity in the global markets will increase. This exercise has to begin somewhere and let that be from India,” said Mr. Bhandari.

The plan was to import excess coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam, provided the government of India waives off the import duty on coffee which is 105%, he added.

“It is like catching them young, before students get involved with colas, carbonated sugar drinks or liquors. We have to create a generational change and build a coffee culture. The campaign will be run in consultation with parents, teachers and school/college managements. We will also rope in sugar companies, dairy brands into it,” he added.

As per ICO, the world drinks 1.5 billion cups of coffee every day and consumers on an average pay $3.1 a cup in the U.S., $4.60 in Shanghai, $6.24 in Copenhagen and $3 to $4 in Bangalore and New Delhi. But unfortunately, not even 5% of this cup price reaches the grower.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 4:29:46 AM |

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