India’s coffee exports set a new record in financial year 2017-18, both in terms of volume and rupee value terms. Robust demand from key buyers in Europe and Russia, higher domestic production and a continued increase in re-exports aided the shipment trend.

Exports fell short of the 4-lakh tonne-mark in volume terms, registering a 12 per cent growth over last year. Of the export permits issued by the Coffee Board for 3.957 lakh tonnes during the year, the robusta variety accounted for 2.257 lakh tonnes (lt), while arabicas were 52,569 tonnes. The instant coffees continued to register an increase and accounted for 1.169 lt.

Coffee imports for re-exports were estimated at 68,142 tonnes, sources said.

Currency terms

In rupee terms, the shipments touched a new high of ₹6,226 crore — a 11 per cent growth over previous year, despite rupee being stronger for large part of the year.

In dollar terms, the exports stood at $965 million. But for the prevailing bearish trend in the global prices, the shipments in dollar terms could have exceeded the previous high of $999.7 million achieved during 2011-12.

Higher production

Ramesh Rajah, President of the Coffee Exporters Association, attributed the growth in exports to the increase in availability of coffees for shipments on good crop harvested in past couple of years. India’s coffee output stood at 3.48 lt in 2015-16 and 3.12 lt in 2016-17.

“It may not be possible to sustain the growth trend in shipments as current crop is lower,” Rajah said. The exporters see coffee output for the 2017-18 crop year ending September at less than 3 lakh tonnes, while the Coffee Board is yet to release its estimates. “We expect the current crop to be between 2.9 and 3 lakh tonnes,” Rajah said.

The coffee growing regions of Karnataka, which accounts for 70 per cent of India’s output, have received blossom and backing showers over the past couple of weeks, raising the prospects for the 2018-19 crop.

“The coffee blossom looks good and we are waiting to see how well the crop setting takes place,” Rajah said. India is the sixth largest producer of coffee and about two- thirds of the produce is exported.

Global scenario

Meanwhile, the International Coffee Organisation on Wednesday has revised upwards its forecast for global coffee output in 2017/18 to 159.66 million (60-kg) bags — marginally higher than the previous forecast of 158.93 million bags. Global consumption forecast for 2017-18 is estimated to be around 158.89 million bags.