Agri Business

Coffee Board sees export prospects brightening despite dip in output

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 14, 2016

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The Coffee Board sees bright prospects for exports in the current financial year despite an anticipated decline in output of around 8 per cent for the 2016-17 season starting October.

“The decline in production is unlikely to affect the exports this year. We may achieve the same level of export as that of last year,” MK Shanmuga Sundaram, Chairman, Coffee Board, told reporters after addressing the members of Karnataka Planters Association on Friday.

India’s exports in value terms stood at around ₹5,178 crore while in volumes it was around 3.18 lakh tonnes (lt) during 2015-16. During the current year (2016-17), permits have been issued for the export of 1.87 lakh tonnes till end September, valued at ₹2,806 crore — an increase of 17 per cent in quantity terms. The rising trend in re-exports of instant coffees is expected to help India sustain its overall shipments in the world market.

Lower output

For the 2016-17 coffee year, the Board expects output to shrink by 8 per cent to around 3.2 lakh tonnes (lt) from a record 3.48 lt in the previous year. Bulk of the decline is mainly in the robusta varieties from 2.44 lt in 2015-16 to around 2.20 lt in the current year.

Arabica production is expected to see a marginal decline to around 1 lt from 1.03 lt in the previous year.

While stating that coffee production has been largely stagnant, Sundaram said, “if we do not improve the productivity of the existing holdings, it will be difficult to sustain coffee cultivation with increasing costs and uncertain prices.”

Replanting process

The pace of re-plantation of coffee plants has been slower than expected in the recent years. In the 12th Plan, the Board had targeted re-plantation on about 25,000 hectares. Of this, coffee replanting has been carried out in only half the area.

But the initiative is gaining pace as more planters are seen taking up replanting. “We expect the replanting to be done in 80 per cent of the targeted area by end of next year,” Sundaram added.

Expanding acreage

The Board also sees potential for expansion of coffee acreage both in the traditional and non-traditional growing areas. “In the traditional growing areas of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, we see a scope for expanding coffee cultivation in about 20,000 hectares.

Similarly, in the non-traditional areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, we see a potential to bring another additional area of around 40,000 hectares. Our objective is to increase the coffee area in non-traditional area from the present 72,000 hectares in 2016 to around 1.12 lakh ha by 2022,” Sundaram added.

Besides, cultivation of coffee is also being tried out in States such as Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. “On a pilot basis, coffee is being planted on about 10 hectares in Himachal and 500 ha in Darjeeling,” Sundaram added.

While stating that white stem borer has been a cause for concern for coffee growers, Sundaram said the Board has entered into a collaborative research programs with the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research to tackle the WSB issue.

Published on October 14, 2016
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