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India: a new soluble coffee plant for export.

India: A new soluble coffee plant for export

Forward-looking leaders in the coffee origin countries around the world have long looked upon soluble coffee manufacturing plants as an ideal means of developing the infra-structure in the coffee producing areas, as well as creating value-added coffee income.

One such individual is Rajendra Prasad, who has recently created Asian Coffee Limited--a modern instant coffee facility near the heart of the Indian coffee growing area--in Secunderabad, 50 km from Hyderabad, the leading city in the State of Andra Pradesh. The plant idea was conceived little over two years ago and quickly became a reality. Construction commenced in September 1988 and the first commercial output was ready by October 1989. By early March 1990, ACL began exporting in major quantities to clients in Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R. This initial success was followed by larger shipments to North America and the United Kingdom, where the bulk of ACL's product will be marketed.

In a wide--ranging interview with Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, managing director Prasad made clear his pride in what has been accomplished to date. The Asian Coffee project was initially financed by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), whose functions parallel those of the World Bank and which operates in 48 countries around the world. After a resoundingly successful 1989 stock offering, the company now operates as a holding company consisting of management, CDC and the public among the major shareholders. As a 100% export oriented facility, there is no attempt by ACL to supply the needs of the burgeoning domestic market. These needs are quite adequately met at present from the production plants of Nestle, Brooke Bond, Kothari General Foods and several smaller soluble producers who predominantly offer blends of instant coffee and chicory.

From a technical standpoint, ACL is by far the most advanced independent soluble coffee plant assembled in recent years. The plant sites, buildings and civil engineering were assembled with local expertise. Aside from the Niro spray-drier, the entire processing technology and equipment were designed and installed utilizing Brazilian engineering. ACL's plant presently produces approximately 2,000 tons per year of spray-dried coffee, with plans in place to increase capacity between 50% and 100% in the coming year. In addition, Prasad expects to add a freeze-drying in the not-too-distant future. Ideally situated in the State of Andra Pradesh, Asian Coffee is well located to both benefit by and contribute to the further economic development of this traditional powerhouse state.

A bright outlook is seen for coffee products produced by Asian Coffee Limited. "Not only are there new coffee products coming to western markets that incorporate soluble coffee, but the Eastern countries are opening as well," says Prasad. "And at the same time, roasters and packers worldwide are upgrading their product quality," referring to the excellent green coffees available in India. Prasad adds that because of traditional sales to the U.S.S.R. of 40-50,000 tons of green and soluble coffee annually, Indian coffees may not be as widely known as they might be. "India produces almost three million bags per year of Arabicas and Robustas, including very fine high-grown washed milds, and so we can meet the quality specifications of any client," Prasad commented to Tea & Coffee Trade Journal.

The present free-market situation has placed producers such as ACL in a position to be better able to satisfy roasters' and consumers' desire to upgrade their blends. Better quality coffees are available at reasonable price levels in India, thereby enabling the manufacture of good green coffee availability is an economical basis. The assurance of good green coffee avilability is provided by India's Coffee Board, an effective mechanism long established to serve the needs of India's approximately 100,000 planters. The Coffee Board oversees and directs such functions as husbandry, research, quality control, milling and marketing of all India's export coffees. This system effectively assures continuity of supply and consistency of quality to the exporters and to soluble manufacturers who ultimately export finished products to world markets.

With the encouragement of the government to export value-added products, the free-market atmosphere of a non-ICO era, a modern and efficient facility located in the heart of South India, and expansion plans under-way, Prasad has set Asian Coffee Limited on a course to become a factor in the emerging Indian coffee scene and in the global soluble markets. In closing, ACL's Prasad stated to Tea & Coffee Trade Journal that "The world coffee market is, of course, in a period of adjustment, but is fundamentally healthy. We are confident that Asian Coffee is emerging as a healthy player in the business."

PHOTO : Asian Coffee Limited is located in Secunderabad.

PHOTO : Monitoring the machinery.

PHOTO : Capacity is expected to increase.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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