Coffee production in India will slump to the lowest in 21 years next season as heavy showers, flooding and landslides damaged trees in Kerala. Output in the year starting 1 October may be about 25% lower than the 316,000 metric tonnes estimated by the state-run Coffee Board for 2017-18, said A.L.R.M. Nagappan, chairman of the coffee committee at the United Planters’ Association of Southern India. That would be the lowest since 1997-98, government data shows.
The plunge in output may be positive for global coffee prices because India exports more than 70% of its production. Arabica coffee may get support after sliding this week to the lowest in 12 years. Robusta coffee has dropped 11 percent this year.
But for growers in Kerala, the biggest coffee producer after neighbouring Karnataka, the damage is only starting.
“We are in a bad state and we don’t know what the future is going to be," Nagappan said Thursday in a phone interview. “Not only the crop but the plants are also damaged and that will take another three to four years to recoup. Many areas have been affected by land slides."
Kerala floods this month have killed at least 394 people and more than $3 billion in damage, according to the state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The area has had 40% more monsoon rain than normal since 1 June, according to the India Meteorological Department. Showers between 1 August and 19 August were 164% higher than average.
“Vigorous monsoon conditions caused flood situations in some other states as well, including Karnataka, interior Maharashtra, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh," IMD said in a statement on Thursday.