Mumbai: India’s coffee crop, Asia’s third largest, may fall for a third year because of heavy rains in the main growing areas, likely reducing exports, an official said.
Plantations in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu received rainfall last week just as trees were flowering, Anil Kumar Bhandari, a member of the state-run Coffee Board and a grower, said on Tuesday.
“The tragedy is that it rained when it harms the crop the most,” Bhandari said. “The entire coffee-growing region was blanketed by rains on days when blossoms open up and get ready for pollination.”
A smaller harvest in India, which exports 80% of its output, may help support this year’s 20% gain in robusta coffee prices. Global production in the year through September will fall short of demand by 7.2 million bags, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization. A bag weighs 60kg.
“India’s coffee output is bound to be lower next year,” Coffee Board’s Bhandari said. “What would be the extent of the decline is too early to say.”
Production may reach 262,000 tonnes in the year to September 2008, 10% lower than the 291,000 tonnes forecast in July 2007 by the government. The crop totalled 288,000 tonnes in the previous year.
Exports may total 210,000 tonnes in the year ending 31 March 2008, 16% lower from a year ago, according to the Coffee Board.
India exported 61,316 tonnes in the 1 January-20 March period, according to data on the board’s website.