Coffee growers sip their cup of cheer

Coffee farmers are all smiles, with their produce fetching a high price this year. Aided by a dip in international production due to bad weather conditions there, and less stock entering the market, prices are looking north.

On Thursday, Arabica Parchment sold for Rs 9,250 per bag of 50 kg, Arabica Cherry for Rs 4,750 per bag, Robusta Parchment for Rs 4,100 a bag, and Robusta Cherry for Rs 2,550 per bag.

Confirming the prices, Kabir, a coffee dealer, said that adverse weather is still disrupting harvesting and transportation in many countries, and affecting short-term supplies.

However, difficulties continue to dog the coffee industry, particularly because of the borer disease. Former chairman of the Coffee Board Bose Mandanna said that compared to last year’s figures, this year, only 25% of the coffee entered the market. During the last monsoon, showers were not timely, there were long spells of rain and the cold weather gave rise to the berry borer disease.

This year, the high price has helped overcome last year’s losses, said Nanda Belliappa, Coffee Board member. “But production is less, and the scarcity of labourers is forcing growers to engage temporary hands at high wages. Manure prices have also shot up,” he said.

The International Coffee Organisation estimates production at 134.6 million bags of coffee for 2010-11 across the globe. Indian traders have exported 2,91,685 tonne of coffee from January 2010 to December 2010 for Rs 3,013 crore, reveals the Coffee Board report.

Estimated production this year

* Arabica Coffee

India: 95,000 tonne (total)

Karnataka: 75,525 tonne

Kodagu: 20,900 tonne

* Robusta Coffee

India: 2,04,000 tonne (total)

Karnataka: 1,36,290 tonne

Kodagu: 88,600 tonne

For Coffee facts from around the world please click here

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