As rains wash away coffee, Board sounds chicory alert

Last Updated 20 October 2018, 21:25 IST

The quality of coffee that we consume daily could see a dip in purity because of the drop in production.

The Coffee Board has raised fears that the coffee supplied in the domestic market could see a rise in chicory content. Worried about this, the Board has urged the food safety department to look into the chicory content in the coffee supplied to domestic consumers.

M S Boje Gowda, chairman, Coffee Board, told DH that people should drink coffee wisely in the coming days. There has been a drop by 82,000 tonnes in coffee production this year, because of excess rains and landslides in Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu and Kerala.

Around 80% of the coffee grown is exported and there can be no compromise in the quality in the international market. So, there will be a drop in the exports.

The domestic market, on the contrary, will not see a lull because of addition of chicory. Chicory costs Rs 50 a kilo and according to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), adding chicory up to 49% is permitted. But there are chances that change in its percentage will go unnoticed in many local brands. Thus, it is important that the food safety department keeps a check, Gowda said.

“We are trying to limit the chicory addition to 10%. Now, it is for FSSAI to put a limit and test the quality in the local market. We have also made a proposal to the ministry in this regard,” he added.

The Board had estimated the production to be four lakh tonnes, but it has been only around three lakh tonnes. It is now keeping a close watch on the production cycle and quality.

Rajesh, a local coffee grower from Kodagu, said that it was not just the flowers, but even the stored dried beans have been lost. This will definitely impact the market in the long run as the standing crops have also been destroyed.

An official from the food safety department said the matter will be discussed with the ministry and a call will be taken.

(Published 20 October 2018, 19:15 IST)

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