India’s coffee exports for the marketing year 2023-24 beginning October are set to rise by 2 per cent to 6.3 million bags of 60 kg each (about 3.8 lakh tonnes) on strong export prospects, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s local office in the country said.

The USDA India Post in its latest projections expects the export demand for Indian coffees to remain strong throughout 2023-24. However trade sources do indicate that current prices are limiting the international buyers from placing large orders, it said.

“The strong demand for Indian robustas, especially the robusta cherry is seen driving the projected growth,” said Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters Association. “We are seeing a good demand for the lower priced robustas, while we don’t see a big increase in Arabica shipments.”

The impact of weak economic conditions is seen triggering demand for the lower price robustas.

Shipment stats

In the current year 2022-23, USDA Post sees India’s coffee exports at 6.225 million bags of 60 kg each. So far, the shipments are trailing the previous year’s levels.

For the October-May 15 period of the current season 2022-23, shipments stood at over 2.38 lakh tonnes, about 10 per cent lower when compared with the same period last year’s 2.65 lakh tonnes, as per the Coffee Board data.

The Post said farmgate prices of Indian coffee are trading at decade-high rates, driven by a global surge in international prices due to supply issues.

Green bean prices for arabica parchment and robusta cherry have increased by 9 and 24 per cent, respectively, since the beginning of the Indian marketing year in October 2022. Both varieties are trading well above the International Coffee Organisation indicator prices.

The USDA Post forecasts marketing year 2023-24 coffee production at 5.8 million bags of 60 kg each comprising 73,800 tonnes of arabicas and 2.74 lakh tonnes of robustas. The forecast for 2023-24 is seen as lower than the current year’s estimate of 6.25 million bags.

Monsoon impact

“Deficit pre-monsoon rains (March-May) are expected to impact yields negatively as fruit setting drops significantly, especially for the arabica variety in the major growing regions,” USDA Post said.

Farm gate prices have risen since the beginning of this marketing year due to the anticipation of lower-than-expected supplies.

India’s domestic consumption is forecast to decline marginally to 1.285 million bags of 60 kg each as a result of rising input costs including that of raw coffee beans.

Post further said that carryover stocks will remain limited due to higher export volume, USDA Post said.