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Tata Coffee sees record output next season

Vishwanath Kulkarni

Bangalore , Sept. 15

TATA Coffee expects the output at its estates for coming coffee season (October 2005-September 2006) to hit a "record high" of about 10,000 tonnes. The previous high was 9,700 tonnes three years ago.

"We expect the coffee output to hit a record high of close to 10,000 tonnes in the back drop of good monsoons and favourable weather conditions," said Mr M.H. Ashraff, Managing Director, Tata Coffee. Last year, the company produced 7,900 tonnes of coffee spread across 6,500 hectares.

Mr Ashraff said the oncoming season was an "on-year" for the company. "Better management practices adopted by us in controlling pests such as white stem borer, coupled with the replanting carried out over the last few years, are seen contributing towards increased output," he said. A good monsoon this year is seen boosting the country's coffee output. "Though heavy rains in Coorg resulted in berry drop in several estates, there have been no such instances at the Tata Coffee estates," he added.

New unit at Theni

Meanwhile, Tata Coffee has finalised the location for setting up a new manufacturing unit for freeze-dried coffee at Theni, next to its existing instant coffee unit.

Freeze-dried coffee is a top-end instant soluble coffee of highest quality and commands a significant premium in the global market. Tata Coffee expects to invest Rs 100 crore in this new facility to produce 2,000 tonnes annually.

"We have placed the order for the machinery with a German firm and the work on the new facility will start next month," he said.

Mr Ashraff expects the new plant to commence operations by the second quarter in fiscal 2007. Tata Coffee is looking at tapping the Russian and the European market with its freeze-dried coffee.

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