`Karnataka to play a critical role in increasing domestic consumption of coffee’

A file photo of a server collecting coffee from a container in a restaurant.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Coffee growing countries, India, Brazil, and South Africa, should collaborate to combat common challenges they face such as global price volatility, high cost of production, and labour shortage, suggested International Coffee Organisation (ICO).

At the opening session of the two-day IBSA Coffee Festival on Wednesday, ICO executive director Jose Sette said India, Brazil, and South Africa had several opportunities to work together to address common issues they face in the coffee growing, processing, and marketing fronts.

India produced over 3,20,000 tonnes of green coffee in the last harvest season that ended in March 2021. Karnataka alone accounts for over 70% of the country’s total coffee production, with Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, and Hassan districts being the State’s coffee heartlands.

Coffee Board chairman M.S. Boje Gowda said, “It is great that we are joining hands with the international coffee community to improve the coffee scene of India and this exercise means a lot for coffee farmers across the country, and especially for an army of them in Karnataka.”

Suresh K. Reddy, Ambassador of India in Brazil, said coffee production had increased 34% in that country in the last two decades although the area under production had only reduced. Indian coffee community had to adopt cost-effective growing techniques and yield enhancing practices from Brazil, he recommended.

“We are also looking forward to collaborating with Brazil in enhancing domestic consumption of coffee in India,” said Mr. Reddy. India’s per capita coffee consumption is around 200 grams while it is 6 kg in Brazil.

Mr. Reddy further said time had come for the commodity apex body, Coffee Board, to position itself as a holistic organisation for the overall development, promotion, and growth of Indian coffee.

Jaideep Sarkar, High Commissioner of India in South Africa, said under the free trade agreements of WTO regime, it was tough for individual governments to promote their own coffees beyond a point and therefore working together was the best option for the global coffee growing community.

Andre Aranha Correa do Lago, Ambassador of Brazil in New Delhi, said, India was beginning to see a lot of speciality coffee coming via exports and this would open up newer opportunities for coffee entrepreneurs in India to process, value add, and re-export.

“We want to be part of the growing India coffee story and IBSA is an ideal platform for a unique partnership between these coffee producing countries,” Mr. Lago added.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 10:20:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/nations-should-jointly-combat-issues-in-coffee-sector/article35734987.ece

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