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Indian Coffee Price Declines, Plantations Facing Challenges

Ajith Kumar V R
Ajith Kumar V R

Demand for coffee has plummeted in 2020, when most restaurants in Europe closed and the tourism sector stagnated. The prices of Arabica and Robusta are much lower than in the previous year. The Arabica 15 kg bag received Rs 11,000 in 2019 has now been reduced to Rs 9,600. Robusta is currently priced at Rs 5,600 per 15 kg bag. The lockdown has been announced following the recurrence of the disease in Europe. The Karnataka Planters Association (KPA) is concerned that this could lead to further fall in prices. The planters are also worried that with the onset of the recession, the premium coffee of India may be replaced by cheaper coffee. Coffee exports have so far lost Rs 200 crore. It is estimated that this could be up to Rs 700 crore.

About 60-70 per cent of the plantations in Karnataka are in crisis due to bad weather and unavailability of labor as a result of the epidemic. Karnataka produces about 70% of India's coffee. Domestic production has declined from 3,19,500 metric tonnes in 2018-19 to 2,98,000 metric tonnes in 2019-20.

The crisis is exacerbated by the fact that half of the 5 lakh workers are guest workers and those who left the country during the Covid-19 period have not returned. If they do not return, planters will not be able to pick and process coffee on time, said KPA chairman Shirish Vijayendra.

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