As Robusta prices continue to inch upwards tracking global price trends, availability of coffee is turning out to be an issue in India with growers holding back their produce while exporters struggle to meet their commitments.

Prices of Robusta Cherry, the widely produced coffee variety in the country have moved up in the range of ₹9,200-9,650 per 50 kg bag, up from ₹8,500-8,950 early this week. Robusta cherry prices were in the range of ₹6,800-6,950 in early January.

Prices of Robusta parchment are hovering in the range of ₹14,800-15,500 per 50 kg bag, up from ₹14,000-14,500 early this week and ₹10,800-11,000 in early January. “The availability of coffees is very limited putting tremendous pressure on exporters who are trying to meet their commitments,” said Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters Association. As a result, the order booking is thinning rapidly and buyers are looking at other origins, he said.

At record high

India’s exports for the fiscal ending March 2024 touched a record in value terms exceeding $1.26 billion on the surging robusta prices. “Export demand is there because of short covering in robustas. The availability is really tight. Planters are selling robustas in parts and based on the prices,” said Pratheek Sargod of Sargod Curing Works in Chikkamagaluru.

The Indian coffee prices are moving in sync with the global robusta prices, which are witnessing a strong uptrend on supply disruptions from top producer Vietnam. Also, concerns of a potential drought in Vietnam hurting the prospects have contributed to the latest rally. “The fundamentals of robusta market are really strong this time. Availability has been an issue as growers are holding back their produce” said Praveen Kumar Kolimarla of Agrani Coffee and Commodities, who sources bean for exporters and roasters.

For the crop year 2023-24 starting October, the Coffee Board in its post-blossom estimates has projected a crop size of 3.74 lakh tonnes over the previous year’s final estimates of 3.52 lakh tonnes.