The Indian coffee industry will take a long time to recover from the severe blow dealt by the pandemic on all commercial activities across the globe.
Most coffee growers in India were already in deep debt after they were hit by excessive monsoon rains, floods, landslides, and substantial crop losses consecutively in 2018 and 2019. During the December-March 2020 picking season, they could not sell or export their beans due to the lockdown. Anil Kumar Bhandari, president of India Coffee Trust (ICT), stated that the global coffee situation is grim as the entire coffee chain is closed due to COVID-19. A bulk of its coffee goes to Europe, and cafés in all countries are in lockdown. All these could lead to a decline in demand for the commodity in the export markets.
Many growers also stated that the situation is critical as significant farm operations such as fertilizing and pest/disease control must be finished before monsoon, which was in early June. Any further postponement in organising working capital would entail laying off of workers and cessation of farm operations.
Most of the roasters are providing a much lower quantity of coffee than they did earlier, said a coffee roaster, and partner at Cotha Associates, Chandan Cotha. He also added that the stimulus package announced by the government is yet to reach small businesses. There is a massive cash crunch in the market. Small businesses need the stimulus right now and not two months later.