Widespread blossom showers in major coffee-growing regions in south India have raised hopes of a better crop this year. Most of the growing regions in Chikmagalur, Kodagu and Hassan districts of Karnataka, which account for 70 per cent of India’s coffee production, received good rain in March and April.
Planters say satisfactory blossom showers in these two months is crucial for a good crop, adding the growing regions, except parts of south Kodagu, received 20.3-25.4 cm of rains. Going by current trends, the 2014-15 coffee crop could stand at about 310,000 tonnes, a 10-11 per cent rise compared to last year.
While the Karnataka Planters Association (KPA), an organisation of coffee growers, has estimated the harvested crop for 2013-14 at 280,000 tonnes, coffee traders have estimated it at 290,000 tonnes. The Coffee Board is yet to come out with its estimate for the harvested crop.
“The growing regions have, more or less, received satisfactory rains. Currently, the plantations are in the pinhead development stage. The conditions are favourable for the robusta crop and, compared to last year, when we witnessed very high temperatures during April and May, the situation is better this year,” said Nishant R Gurjer, a coffee grower and former chairman of KPA.
He added though it was premature to estimate the production for this year, current conditions pointed to a better crop than last year. Production for 2014-15 could be about 310,000 tonnes, he said, adding what had dampened the picture was a white stem borer pest attack at many growing regions.
“As this year is an ‘on-year’ for coffee, robusta production could stand at 230,000 tonnes, while the output of arabica will be about 80,000 tonnes,” Gurjer said.
Analysts say a better crop in India will not have any significant impact on Global prices. Usually, Brazil, which accounts for the majority of global coffee production, dictates global prices. For this year, the prospects of a worse-than-expected crop in Brazil, owing to prolonged dry weather in that country, have led to an upward momentum in prices. Arabica prices for July delivery stand at 183.90 cents a pound, compared with 125.97 cents a pound in December 2013, a rise of 46 per cent.
“The price impact will be negligible, as coffee prices are dictated by Brazil. Indian coffee growers have already seen a price rise of about 50 per cent to Rs 11,000 a bag (ex-farm gate) since Brazil reported its crop for 2014 would be lower than expected. Higher production in India will not have any significant impact except the fact that exporters will have a little more to export than last year,” Gurjer said.