Agri Business

Coffee exports at 9-year low on dip in volumes, value

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 14, 2020

India’s coffee exports for the financial year-ended March 2020 was at a nine-year low in dollar value terms with the emergence of the Covid crisis at the fag-end of the period impacting bean shipments. Coffee shipments stood at $742 million, a 12 per cent decline over the previous year’s $848.66 million.

In rupee value terms, the shipments were down by about a tenth at ₹5258.98 crore during fiscal 2020 as against ₹5814.60 crore in the previous financial year. In volume terms, the shipments declined by 6 per cent at 3.32 lakh tonnes (3.53 lakh tonnes in the previous year). Also, the prices realised by exporters were lower by four per cent during the year. Indian coffees fetched an average realisation of ₹1,58,129 per tonne during financial year 2019-20 as against ₹1,64,451 in the previous year.

Decline in shipments

Ramesh Rajah, President of the Coffee Exporters Association, said the decline in shipments in the past few weeks and lower prices have impacted exports. “Until February, our shipments were marginally lower. In March, which is normally a good period for shipments, people were expecting some improvement. However, the spread of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown have impacted the overall shipments,” he said.

Coffee is harvested in India between December and March, and normally the export consignments gain momentum between March and June.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the government on the short-term losses incurred by exporters over the past one month, but are yet to hear from them,” Rajah said.

Liquidity crunch

Though coffee curing has been exempted from the lockdown, movement of beans from farmgates to the curing works has been slow due to lack of buying interest. The lack of liquidity in the system is also taking a toll on exports. Though coffee has started moving from curing works to ports in the past couple of days, the movement has been slow, Rajah said.

“We have asked the government to allow auto enhancement of working capital limits by 20 per cent for six months to tide over the crisis. Also, we have urged the interest equalisation scheme, which expired in 2020, to be extended till 2025 and the incentive under MEIS be raised back to 5 per cent from 2 per cent,” Rajah said.

 

Published on April 14, 2020

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