Agri Business

Covid-19: Europe’s opening up may give respite to Indian coffee exporters

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on May 20, 2021

Shipments in the current calendar year till May 19 were up 16% at 1.46 lakh tonnes

Indian coffee exporters are keenly waiting for the re-opening of cafes and restaurants in their largest market Europe that could spur demand for the beans.

Reports said that cafes and restaurants in France and Austria re-opened this week, after almost a six-month lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, while exporters are hoping that other European countries would open up soon.

The lockdown had hit the out-of-home coffee consumption, thereby impacting the shipments from India.

The premium Indian coffees such as Robusta Parchment are mainly consumed in the out-of-home segment in Europe. “We are waiting for Europe to open up. Hopefully, UK and others will open up next month. We are hoping for some pick-up in demand,” said Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters Association.

Shipments rise

The Indian coffee shipments are up 16 per cent in the calendar year till May 19, according to provisional data of the Coffee Board.

The cheaper instant coffees, that are largely consumed in-house, have largely contributed to the growth in exports, while the premium green beans mainly Robusta Parchment has seen a slump. Other varieties such as Arabica Parchment, Arabica Cherry and Robusta Cherry haveincreased.

Overall coffee shipments in the current calendar year till May 19 stood at 1.46 lakh tonnes against 1.26 lakh tonnes in the same period last year.

Instant coffee shipments including imports for re-exports were higher by 24 per cent at 44,966 tonnes (36,209 tonnes).

Robusta Parchment shipments were down 20 per cent at 9,244 tonnes (11,669 tonnes in the same period last year). Arabica Parchment shipments were up 38 per cent at 22,066 tonnes (15,894 tonnes), while that of Arabica cherry were up 2.5 per cent at 6,052 tonnes (5,905 tonnes).

Robusta cherry shipments were higher by 13 per cent at 63,854 tonnes (56,321 tonnes).

Pent-up orders

Exporters are largely servicing last year’s orders, Rajah said attributing the growth in shipments to the spill-over effect. Buyers in Europe had asked to defer the shipments by about 3-4 months. At the moment, there is a slack demand.

“We expect the demand to pick up from September,” he said.

India exports over two-thirds of the coffee produced in the country. Italy, Germany and the Russian Federation are the top three markets.

Published on May 20, 2021

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