India’s coffee production in 2023-24 is likely to be lower due to severe weather conditions

India’s October coffee output in the 2023-24 crop year is expected to be lower as erratic weather is likely to affect yield and quality, farmers said.  Speaking to the media ahead of the annual conference, Karnataka Planters Association (KPA) president Mahesh Shashidhar said that most districts received 50 percent rainfall in the fortnight of July this year. “Irregular weather and rainfall patterns have greatly affected the yield and quality of the plantations and urged the government to include coffee in the Fasal Bima Yojana.  

The effect of rain  

   August was mostly rainless, but the coffee regions are currently experiencing rain, which is considered detrimental to the Arabica crop being harvested from various pockets. According to post-bloom or pre-estimates, the National Coffee Board has set a harvest of 3.74 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2023-24, of which 1.13 lt was arabica and 2.61 lt was robusta. In 2022-23, 3.52 liters of coffee were produced, including 1 liter of Arabica and 2.52 liters of Robusta. “We may see a similar harvest or a decline of 5-10 percent from last year’s final estimates”, Mahesh said. “It is difficult to assess the collection, and a clearer picture will emerge as the harvest progresses”, Harvesting of early ripening arabica has started in all forest areas, but the current rains are affecting quality as ripe fruits are breaking on the plant due to rain. “Though the crop may look good on the plant,  the actual condition will be revealed after the harvest as the berry development has been affected by irregular rains this year”. However, Upas Coffee Committee chairman Ajoy Thipaiah said the yield could be  25-30 percent less than the Coffee Board’s original estimate of 3.74 liters, based on prevailing crop conditions and weather. Shashidhar said the annual increase in production costs of about 10-15 percent – due to higher inputs and labor costs – is a challenge for farmers as price realization is not keeping pace with the increase in costs. The KPA chairman suggested that the Finance Ministry exempt the plantations from the purview of the SARFESI Act as it is an agricultural property. Shashidhar said plantations should be excluded from CIBIL as plantations are agricultural in nature.  In addition, the Ministry of Commerce must implement the development plans for farmers and exporters presented by the Coffee Board for the planning period 2021-22 to 2025-26 and apply them to all categories of farmers, UPASI President Shreedharan C said that the share of coffee under the RODTEP scheme should be increased from 1.4% to 8.5% considering the huge export potential of the commodity.

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