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Dipping Coffee Prices Making Growers in Karnataka and Kerala Sleepless

Indian prices of coffee are on a downslide, which is worrying coffee growers.

Shipra Singh
Fresh coffee beans
Fresh coffee beans

Coffee growers in Karnataka and Kerala are worried. They have completed harvest and are all set for pruning and manuring for the next season and the coffee price trend is showing a reversal graph.

Farm-gate coffee prices in Karnataka have dipped to 6-7% over the last four months. Global prices have become unstable during this period. Although futures trading in coffee is doing good, prices in Indian market are low. This is giving sleepless nights to coffee growers.  

According to growers, higher input and fuel prices will  increase the cost of production for the next crop. Prashant Rajesh, President of Wayanand Coffee Growers Association that most produces Robusta coffee, has this to say, "prices are turning from bad to worse. When raw coffee prices were ruling at Rs. 63-64 per kg a few months ago, we thought we had hit the bottom. Now, the prices are at Rs. 61. We are unable to make both ends meet with these kinds of prices."

He added that traders and exporters attribute to the present price trend at the global market and also cite withdrawal of government's export incentive. The only positive thing right now is that the rupee is weak against the dollar.  

The President of Coffee Exporters Association, Ramesh Rajah, says, "Indian coffees still command a premium, but demand has taken a hit. As more coffee shops close in Europe, there's trouble for Indian prices."  

Yet, Indian coffees are still more expensive than Colombian and Central American varieties.  

Chairman of Karnataka Planters Association S. Appadurai said that a slight uptrend in global prices does not imply benefits for Indian growers. Labor shortage has compelled many growers to switch to Robusta Cherry, whose prices are anything between Rs. 2900 to Rs. 3000 per bag.

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