The Coffee industry faces a challenge as unpredictable weather patterns take a toll on the expected output for the 2023-24 season. Growers express concerns as the ongoing harvest of Arabicas, accelerated by early blossom showers, encounters untimely and uneven rains, potentially leading to a drop in production.
As we step into the realm of the Coffee industry, the grounds are shifting. Exporters are anticipating a drop in the domestic Coffee crop for the year 2023-24, starting in October 2023.
According to Ramesh Rajah, President of The Coffee Exporters Association of India, Arabica production is anticipated to be around 80,000 tons, while Robusta is expected to reach about 2.7 lakh tons. This marks a marginal decrease compared to the previous year’s total production of 3.52 lakh tons.
The initial post-blossom estimates by the Coffee Board for 2023-24 suggest a total output of 3.74 lakh tons, with 1.13 lakh tons of Arabicas and 2.61 lakh tons of Robustas. However, the industry is cautious as the erratic weather, characterized by untimely rains and prolonged dry spells during peak monsoon, could lead to a downward revision of these projections.
The current rainfall, though detrimental to the standing Arabica crop being harvested, adds an element of uncertainty to the overall crop quality. The picking of early ripened Arabicas has begun, but the rain impact is causing concerns about the potential splitting of ripened fruits on the plant, affecting the final harvest quality.
Growers in Karnataka, the powerhouse producing over 70% of India’s Coffee, share concerns. Mahesh Shasidhar, former Chairman of Karnataka Planters Association, foresees a 5%-10% dip in output compared to 2022.
Exports take a hit as the industry grapples with lower-order books. Economic conditions in consuming countries and concerns about proposed regulations on deforestation-free product imports in the European Union contribute to a lackluster export outlook.
Shipments for the current financial year (1 April 2023-13 November 2023) are down by about 6.5%, reaching 2.31 lakh tons in volumes compared to last year’s 2.47 lakh tons. Despite this, there’s a silver lining in the form of a nearly 6% increase in export value, reaching $734 million over last year’s $694 million for the same period.
As the Coffee industry confronts the challenges posed by erratic weather and economic conditions, the outlook for the 2023-24 season remains uncertain. Growers and exporters are closely monitoring the ongoing harvest to assess the actual impact on crop quality and quantity.