India’s coffee output for the 2024-25 season starting October is forecast to be a tad lower impacted by poor pre-monsoon rains, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said. The upcoming harvest for crop year 2024-25 starting October will likely be lower by 1 lakh bags of 60 kg each at 6 million bags, mainly on the expected drop in the production of arabicas while the robusta forecast unchanged.

The projected decline in output in India, the seventh largest producer, comes at a time when the world coffee production for 2024-25 is forecast to rebound 7.1 million bags from the previous year to 176.2 million due primarily to continued recovery in Brazil and rebounding output in Indonesia, the USDA said.

Stakeholders’ views

USDA has forecast India’s arabica output for 2024-25 at 1.4 million bags, down from the previous year’s 1.5 million bags, due to the poor pre-monsoon rains. The USDA said in its latest report that robusta production is expected to remain unchanged at 4.6 million bags of 60 kg each on normal growing conditions. Also, it has forecast India’s bean exports down slightly to 4.2 million bags (4.25 million bags last year) on lower output.

Coffee stakeholders feel that there’s likely to be an adverse impact of the prolonged dry spell and higher-than-normal temperatures witnessed during the months of March-May on the forthcoming crop. Pre-monsoon showers are crucial for the coffee crop and this year majority of the coffee growing regions in the country witnessed a deficit pre-monsoon rains. The USDA India post had earlier projected a 3 per cent dip in arabicas yield at 402 kg per hectare and 2 per cent decline in yields of robustas at 1,230 kg per hectare due to the poor pre-monsoon rain and dry weather.

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Commenting on the crop prospects, KG Rajeev, Chairman, Karnataka Planters Association, said some clarity on the crop setting would emerge in about a fortnight. Coffee-growing regions in Karnataka, which accounts for over two-thirds of India’s output, had witnessed a prolonged 120-day dry spell during the pre-monsoon period impacting the flowering and crop setting across various places.

Deficit Monsoon

As per the IMD data, the key coffee growing districts are witnessing a cumulative rainfall deficiency in the ongoing monsoon season. Kodagu is witnessing a rain deficiency of 51 per cent with actual rainfall during June 1-24 period at 212.9 mm against a normal of 437.8 mm for the period. Similarly, Chikkmagaluru is witnessing a deficiency of 40 per cent with the district receiving rain of 158.7 mm against a normal of 263.9 mm. Hassan is witnessing a 53 per cent deficiency with actual rains during June being 58.6 mm against a normal of 123.5 mm, while Wayanad in Kerala, the major robusta producing district in the State witnessing a 58 per cent deficiency as the actual rainfall during June 1-24 being 220 mm against a normal of 522.9 mm.

Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters Association, said the nobody is clear on the crop prospects as the estimates are pre-monsoon estimates, which are generally off the mark. Most of the trade is reluctant to make any crop forecast till September, he said. Commenting on USDA’s export projections, Rajah said if the crop is less, exports will automatically come down.

USDA said Brazil’s combined arabica and robusta harvest is forecast 3.6 million bags higher at 69.9 million in 2024-25. Brazil’s arabica output is forecast to improve 3.3 million bags to 48.2 million and the robusta harvest is expected to rebound 3,00,000 bags to 21.7 million. Production in Vietnam, the largest robusta producer, is forecast nearly unchanged at 29 million bags, while the Colombia arabica production is forecast up 2,00,000 bags to 12.4 million on slightly higher yields.

Additional supplies

Indonesia’s combined arabica and robusta harvest is forecast to rebound nearly 2.8 million bags to 10.9 million on favourable growing conditions, USDA said.

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With additional supplies, global exports are expected up 3.6 million bags to 123.1 million primarily on strong shipments from Indonesia and Brazil. Consumption is seen 3.1 million bags higher at 170.6 million during 2024-25, while the ending stocks are expected to rise 1.9 million bags to 25.8 million following three years of decline, the USDA said.