New Delhi: Strong global demand and increasing domestic supply pushed up the country’s coffee exports by 42% to 1,00,574 tonnes in the first four months of 2010, according to the Coffee Board of India.
In terms of value, coffee exports surged to Rs1,025 crore between January and April from Rs763.38 crore in the same period last year, it said.
“Exports have increased due to a rise in demand for the robusta variety of coffee and a hike in the re-export of processed coffee,” a Coffee Board official told PTI.
The country had shipped only 70,843 tonnes of coffee in the same period last year even as demand slumped due to the economic recession, he said.
India is Asia’s third-largest producer of coffee. According to data released by the apex body for promotion and marketing of the crop, Arabica exports stood at 21,734 tonnes while Robusta, which is stronger in caffeine content than Arabica, amounted to 51,173 tonnes between January and April 2010.
The overseas sale of instant coffee stood at 8,670 tonnes, whereas the re-export of processed coffee was about 18,871 tonnes in the review period.
Companies such as Tata Coffee, Nestle and NKG Jayanti Coffee Pvt Ltd shipped most of their products to Italy (27,970 tonnes), Russia (12,646 tonnes) and Germany (9,442 tonnes).
Coffee Exporters’ Association president Ramesh Rajah said, “Exports are back to normal now, as compared to last year. There have been good shipments from December 2009 to April 2010, thanks to improved demand and higher agricultural yields.”
However, he expressed uncertainty over India’s ability to keep this up in the coming months, especially with the rupee becoming stronger by the day. “The strengthening of the rupee and hike in ocean freight rates may hit shipments adversely, despite higher domestic supplies,” he said.
According to the board, the total output is estimated to end up higher at 2.89 lakh tonnes in the 2009-10 coffee year, as opposed to the 2.62 lakh tonnes produced last season. The coffee year runs from October to September.
In the period from October 2009 to April 2010, the country’s coffee exports rose to 1,45,352 tonnes, against 1,06,991 tonnes exported in the same period last year.