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India's coffee output seen rising 12.3 percent on higher acreage: Board

A coffee planter shows white stem borer beetles that have affected his arabica coffee plantation at Madikeri in Karnataka June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s coffee output is likely to rise 12.3 percent from a year ago to 350,400 tonnes in 2017/18 due to an expansion in the area under cultivation, the state-run Coffee Board said on Tuesday.

The South Asian country, which is famous as a tea producer, is also the world’s No.6 coffee grower, mainly churning out the robusta beans used to make instant coffee, but also producing some of the more expensive arabica variety.

The country’s robusta production is likely to rise 14 percent to 247,300 tonnes in the marketing year that started on Oct. 1, while arabica output could rise 8.5 percent to 103,100 tonnes, the board said.

India, which some say started coffee cultivation in 1670 with seven smuggled beans, exports three-quarters of its production.

Italy, Germany and Belgium are the main buyers of India’s crop, paying a premium over global prices.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu