11 September 1998
REPRESENTATIVES of Indian coffee exporters have asked the federal Government to allow the free import of robusta coffee from Indonesia to tide India over a shortfall in domestic supply.
As the exporters have cancelled contracts for more than 5000t of robusta coffee since they were not sure of getting supplies, prices for November delivery robusta cherry AB have risen by Rs5/kg to Rs 85/kg (£1.20/kg) at the last auction.
The shippers are likely to cancel many more contracts for robusta coffee even at the risk of India being branded an unreliable supplier.
India has built a chain of roasters in Italy, Japan, Greece and Australia. The cancellation of export contracts by Indian shippers will force these roasters to look elsewhere.
But the Coffee Board does not consider the situation grave enough to warrant imports of Indonesian coffee. Instead the board has lifted the robusta crop estimate. Officials think a higher crop estimate will encourage the growers to dispose of their stocks.
India is the worlds sixth largest coffee producer and grows both robusta and arabica varieties.
- Financial Times 11/09/98 page 30