Coffee price set for all-time high, Wayanad farmers jubilant

Representational image
Representational image. File photo: Manorama

Wayanad: Coffee prices are shooting through the sky fetching an all-time high of Rs 180 for 1 kg unprocessed dried cherry. The farmers in Wayanad (Kerala), The Nilgiris (Tamil Nadu), Coorg and Chikmagalur (Karnataka) are jubilant post the harvest. Going by the trend, market players hope that the price will cross a record high of Rs 200. By the end of February, the price of unprocessed dried cherry was Rs 158/kg.

The dip in production in major coffee-producing countries like Vietnam and Brazil due to hostile climatic conditions along with a slight slump in production in the coffee-growing regions in the country also resulted in the price hike. Apart from Wayanad all other regions recorded poor returns due to drought, it was pointed out. According to experts in Wayanad, coffee production has gone up by 40 percent.

The coffee farmers of Wayanad said that they have received more than double the price for coffee than last year. According to Saju CD, a farmer of Vakery near Sulthan Bathery, he had received Rs 70 to Rs 80 per 1 kg of unprocessed dried coffee cherry last year whereas this year already he has received Rs 178 for 1 kg and price is still going up.

Saju said that most of the farmers including him have decided to hold back a major share of the production expecting that the prices would cross the Rs 200/kg mark. “Even before the harvest the price has shown an upward trend which is still on," he said.

According to George Daniel, Deputy Director, Regional Coffee Research Station, Chundel, Kalpetta, this year the crop is much better in Wayanad than last year. “The price of processed coffee beans is almost more than double (Rs 130-140 per kg last year) this year which went up to Rs 310- Rs 340 per kg," he said.

Coffee beans drying yard in Wayanad. Photo: Special arrangement

Climate Change is wreaking havoc in countries like Vietnam and Brazil, causing a sharp dip in production across the globe," he said, adding that the low supply triggered high demand and price hike.

“In my career spanning three decades it is for the first time that the Robusta prices have a steady upper hand over Arabica in the market," he said adding that in the Chikmagalur market, the other day, the price of parched Arabica was Rs 14000 (for 50 kg bag) whereas that of Robusta was Rs 14200. Daniel told Onmanorama that the change in trend in the West in coffee consumption also might have contributed to the high price of Robusta coffee. More and more customers are turning to pure Robusta coffee whereas earlier Robusta coffee was used only as blending stuff to upgrade the taste of Arabica coffee.

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