Robusta coffee price touches all-time high amid global shortage

Price of Robusta coffee has spiked due to drastic fall in traditional growing regions - Vietnam and Indonesia

Updated - March 26, 2024 04:06 am IST

Published - March 24, 2024 06:53 pm IST - KALPETTA

Farm workers harvesting coffee beans at a plantation in Wayanad district of Kerala.

Farm workers harvesting coffee beans at a plantation in Wayanad district of Kerala. | Photo Credit: E.M. MANOJ

Robusta coffee farmers in South India are jubilant post-harvest with their produce fetching an all-time high price.

The farmgate price of raw Robusta coffee berries touched a record ₹172 per kilogram (kg) in the Wayanad market on Saturday, as against ₹115 per kg during the same period last year. Meanwhile, the spot price of Robusta coffee beans stood at ₹315 per kg, up from ₹210 during the same period in 2023. The price was ₹80 and ₹145 per kg for raw berries and beans, respectively, in March 2022.

Though the harvest is almost complete, there has been a huge shortfall in the supply of coffee to the market this year, thereby contributing to the increase in coffee prices, said Salu George, a coffee trader in Wayanad.

Multiple factors

“We expect a decline of 30% in Robusta production this year owing to climatic vagaries, especially the scanty blossom shower in Robusta-growing regions last year,” Mr. George said.

A sharp decline in the production of Robusta coffee—nearly 2 million bags—in Vietnam, a major Robusta coffee-growing country, has also led to the rise in prices, sources added. Robusta coffee production in Indonesia too dipped sharply this year, they said.

Notably, the price of Arabica seeds has dropped below the price of Robusta. The farmgate price of the Arabica variety of coffee was ₹305 per kg on Saturday. While traditionally the Arabica variety fetched a premium price, it is now Robusta that is selling at a higher price due to its low availability.

Farmers expect production to decline by 25%-30% next year too owing to a dearth of backup showers in many Robusta coffee-growing regions.

Wayanad in Kerala, which is the largest Robusta coffee-producing district in the country after Coorg in Karnataka, received a rainfall of 29.3 mm in the first week of January. Major parts of the district received no rain since then, Prasanth Rajesh, Director, Wayanad Coffee Growers’ Association said.

The January showers helped in the blossoming of Robusta coffee plants, farmers say. But absence of backup showers, a major factor in the formation of berries, is a concern.

According to the Coffee Board of India, the total production of coffee in India during the 2022-23 fiscal was 3,52,000 tonnes, including 2,52,000 tonnes of Robusta coffee. The total value of India’s coffee exports has risen to ₹5,279 crore during the ongoing coffee season, from ₹3,982 crore during the same period in the earlier season

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