Coffee Board of India(CBI) has introduced a variety of programs and measures to address the negative effects posed by drastic change in climate in recent years due to more intensive farming practices by India’s main coffee growing regions .
“These strategies are equally consistent with the concept of sustainability. Hence the Coffee Board of India has launched programs for creating the awareness among the growers for adoption of these sustainable technologies to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in coffee growing regions of India.” – says Dr Raghuramulu,Director of Research at India’s Central Coffee Research Institute.
Strategies being employed by CBI to address the challenges posed by climate change include bringing back the traditional sustainable practices in coffee cultivation, which have been the strength of Indian coffee.
Shade Grown Coffee
In order to protect the coffee bushes from high radiation levels and rising temperatures, the CBI has launched massive awareness programs on the importance of maintaining good shade cover. CBI says well-maintained two-tier canopy of shade is best for protecting coffee bushes against high summer temperatures.
“The components like maintenance of desirable shade pattern, conservation of natural resources such as in-situ moisture conservation, harvesting of rainwater, recycling of on-farm organic wastes, adoption of integrated nutrient and pest and disease management practices, need to be given priority” -Raghuramulu
Improve the Health of soil
Second Strategy of CBI is advising farmers on the benefits of building the organic matter in the soil.
“Preparation of compost using coffee fruit skin and shade trees leaf biomass, coffee prunings etc and its application once every few years helps in building up of soil organic matter, while saving the inorganic fertilisers”
In-situ moisture conservation
Third strategy the CBI is actively promoting is a focus on in-situ moisture conservation.
“Well-tested on-farm practices like in-situ soil and water conservation measures like staggered trenches and pits across the slope, scuffling of top soil followed by mulching of young fields will help in in-situ water harvesting in coffee plots during rainy season and prevention of evaporation of sub-soil moisture during dry months”
Sustainable Irrigation and Water harvesting
Fourth strategy the CBI is working with farmers to establish sustainable irrigation and water harvesting and recycling practices.
“Adoption of water storage structures like mini check dams and farm ponds will help in harvesting of rainwater which could be used for irrigating the coffee for blossom and fruit setting as well as for sustenance irrigation of young coffee plants,”
“Sprinkler irrigation is being recommended for aiding normal blossom and fruit setting especially in Robusta coffee which is being widely adopted by the coffee growers.”
Integrated Pest management
Finally, the CBI has been very active in promoting the principles of integrated pest management.
“Unlike many other major producers, India grows both the commercial species of coffee – Arabica and Robusta,” Raghuramulu says.
“Coffee white stem borer is the major pest of Arabica coffee which is absent in other major Arabica producing countries of the world. The coffee berry borer attacks both Arabica and Robusta. India also has highest number of coffee leaf rust races (physiological forms) due to highly favourable conditions. Of the nearly 45 rust races identified in the world, nearly 36 rust races are present in India.
The Research department of Coffee Board has been working on these twin problems of white stem borer and leaf rust on Arabica coffee for the past nine decades and has developed sound integrated management packages for both white stem borer and leaf rust, which have greatly helped in sustaining Arabica coffee production in the country.
Source:World Coffee Report