Vishwanath Kulkarni

Bangalore, Feb 3

COFFEE exports for the 2004 calendar year, tracking a lower crop, declined by about six per cent in quantity to 2.096 lakh tonnes compared to 2.224 lakh tonnes in 2003. In rupee value terms, exports during the year dropped by four per cent, while in dollar terms there was a marginal increase of about half a per cent over 2003.

According to Coffee Board statistics, exports in rupee terms stood at Rs 1,068 crore in 2004 compared to Rs 1,112 crore in 2003.

However, in dollar terms, exports increased to $249.21 million in 2004 over compared to $247.98 million in 2003.

"The decline in exports during 2004 was due to the lower crop size last year," said Mr Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters Association.

The availability of coffee for exports was affected as the crop size shrunk by 10-15 per cent during 2003-04, he added.

Moreover, the arrivals in the current coffee year are slower, Mr Rajah said. "This means that we will end up exporting less coffee in 2004-05."

However, the overall value realisation during 2004 improved marginally because of the improvement in Arabica prices during the second half of the year, he added.

The unit value realisations during the year increased to Rs 50,961 per tonne against Rs 50,010 per tonne in 2003.

The appreciating rupee and higher freight rates did impact the exporters earnings, thereby resulting in lower prices for the farmers, he said.

Nestle India topped the exporters' list in 2004, exporting about 24,000 tonnes, followed by Allanasons with 23,177 tonnes and HLL with some 15,582 tonnes.

Italy topped the exporters' destinations followed by Russian Federation and Germany.

About 49,000 tonnes of Indian coffee were exported to Italy, while 28,808 tonnes were exported to Russian Federation and 22,000 tonnes to Germany.

India produces about 4.5 per cent of the world's total coffee production and exports 70-80 per cent of the output.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 4, 2005)
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