Mumbai: India’s coffee exports fell 24% in the first nine months of 2009 due to a domestic crop shortage and the economic downturn that hit traditional buyers, an official from the Coffee Board said on Thursday.
Total exports were 124,774 tonnes during the first nine months, compared with 164,093 tonnes in the year-ago period.
“The offtake from traditional buyers has taken a hit. Then, the crop shortage in the country further added to the problem,” said a Coffee Board official who could not be named.
Indian prices are higher due to lower stocks after a poor domestic crop this season and demand will pick up once the new crop arrivals start from October.
Total arabica exports in January-September stood at 24,316 tonnes and robusta exports stood at 78,714 tonnes.
Arabica is mainly used in premium coffees, while robusta, which makes up 70% of the country’s output, is typically blended with arabica beans for a lower-cost option for brewed coffee, or processed into instant coffee.
“Exports were also dragged down by instant coffee exports to Europe,” the official added.
Instant coffee exports in the first nine months stood at 21,542 tonnes from 30,904 tonnes in the same period a year earlier.
The country produces only 4.5% of the world’s coffee, but exports 70-80% of its output. Italy, Germany and Russia are the top three buyers of Indian coffee.
Italy accounts for about 25% of the country’s coffee exports, followed by the Russian Federation and Germany at 9% and 7.8% respectively.
India’s coffee exports fell to 219,583 tonnes in 2008 from 220,100 tonnes a year ago.