Coffee planters in southern India expect higher sales of their produce once the draft notification of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recommending a cut in chicory content comes into effect.
Currently, coffee powders sold in the country have 49% chicory. The FSSAI’s proposal to bring down chicory content in coffee to 30% is pending clearance.
“The coffee [planters] fraternity has welcomed the FSSAI recommendation because a 19 percentage point reduction in chicory in coffee powder will give an instant boost to domestic consumption. The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI), along with coffee bodies in the country, has been lobbying for reduced chicory component in coffee,” said UPASI vice-president A.L.R.M. Nagappan.
A reduction in chicory content will positively impact volume demand for coffee, in addition to helping consumers get pure coffee with natural aroma and flavour.
UPASI said the coffee sector had been going through tough times in the last several years due to falling prices, labour shortage, soaring labour costs, rise in fertilizer prices and vagaries of nature. All these have pushed up the cost of coffee production by 50%. Also, white stem borer (pest) attack has brought down arabica production by almost half.
Mr. Nagappan said that UPASI was supportive of a domestic coffee consumption drive in the interest of all stakeholders including roasters, marketeers, growers and consumers. The idea was to formulate a consumption campaign in consultation with coffee organisations like the Karnataka Planters’ Association, Karnataka Growers Federation, Codagu Planters’ Association, The Planters’ Association of Tamil Nadu and Association of Planters of Kerala.
“Each one of these organisations has been asked to come up with individual proposals for domestic consumption drive by mid-May. We will decide on modalities, evolve a strategy and execution plan after validating these proposals,” he added.
As per statistics compiled by UPASI, India produced 3.16 lakh tonnes of coffee during 2017-18 and exported 3.92 lakh tonnes. This included carry-forward stock from the previous years.
The country imported 80,000 tonnes of coffee, the whole of which was meant for exports as soluble or instant coffees to Russia and other markets, while the country’s domestic consumption for the year was 60,000 tonnes.