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Coffee exports get 'instant' boost

T E NARASIMHAN/Coonoor 14 Sep 17 | 01:50 AM

Coffee imports into the country stood at 78,042 tonnes

India’s emergence as the export hub of instant coffee is pushing up overall coffee exports from the country. Coffee exports rose to 1,77,805 tonnes during April-August 2017 from 1,62,641 tonnes in the same period last year. In terms of value, the exports rose to $447 million from $363.1 million.

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Speaking to Business Standard on the sidelines of the 124th annual conference of the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) at Coonoor, Y Raghuramulu, director of research at Coffee Board, said India was becoming the hub of value-added products.

The exports, he said, were driven by value-added coffee (instant coffee), which contributed nearly 25.5 per cent to total exports from April to August 2017, and this was increasing steadily year-on-year. 

Coffees that are being exported include green coffee and specialty green coffee and value-added coffee. Robusta coffee, imported from countries like Vietnam, is exported after adding value to it here.

In 2016-17, coffee imports into the country stood at 78,042 tonnes compared to 65,618 tonnes the previous year. In terms of value, the imports jumped to Rs 927 crore ($142 million) from Rs 802 crore ($122 million). 

Re-exports stood at 79,254 tonnes compared to 67,283 tonnes. Some of the major export units which focus on value-added products are CCL Products, Tata, Narasus Coffee, NEd Commodities, among others.

Coffee production in India is expected to cross 3.3 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 as new areas have come under cultivation amid normal monsoon. If the climate and prices are favourable, production can go up to 3.7 lakh tonnes in the next two-three years, said a Coffee Board representative. The post-monsoon crop forecast for 2016-17 was placed at 316,700 tonnes, which showed a marginal reduction of 3,300 tonnes (-1.03%) over the post-blossom estimate of 2016-17 of 320,000 tonnes.

Raghuramulu said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had estimated coffee production in India to be at 5.5 million bags (3.3 lakh tonnes). “Our estimate is that it will be higher than that. We are in consultation with various associations for finalising the estimates," he said.

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