Budget promise fails to perk up coffee market

A month ago, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac announced in the Budget a minimum support price (MSP) of ₹90 for a kg of Robusta raw cherry, with the intention of supporting coffee farmers in the district. The announcement is yet to make any impact in the coffee market, according to Prasanth Rajesh, president, Wayanad Coffee Growers Association (WCGA).

The market price of raw coffee berries on Saturday in Wayanad was ₹65 a kg as against ₹68 a kg during the corresponding period last year. The price for the commodity was ₹63 a month ago and the slight increase in price was in proportion to an increase in the international price of the produce, Mr. Rajesh said.

Value-added products

The Budget announcement had raised farmers’ hopes and many stocked the crop to get the MSP, borrowing funds to meet their immediate requirements. But the government is yet to procure the produce from the farmers, Mr. Rajesh said. While procuring coffee at MSP, the government would provide 50% of the price difference between market price and the MSP and the remaining price would be borne by the Brahmagiri Development Society (BDS), which is entrusted with procuring the crop. The BDS aims at meeting the expense through the sale of value-added products from Robusta coffee under the brand name ‘Wayanad Coffee’. In the first phase, only a small quantity would be procured. The quantity would go up in the later stage, sources said.

The government had allotted ₹5 crore to the BDS to expand its coffee processing unit and ₹20 crore to the Kudumbashree Mission to set up 600 filter coffee powder selling outlets, 100 kiosks, and 600 coffee vending machines across the State. As per demand from the Kudumbashree Mission, the BDS would provide coffee powder at ₹400 a kg.

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